Family Law

Man Files Federal Wiretap Suit Against Ex, Says He Found Recording Device Sewn Into Son's Clothing

In an era in which a Texas matrimonial lawyer routinely suggests to clients that they remove the battery from their cellphones to prevent illicit surveillance during legal consultations, savvy spouses should be aware that their significant others may literally be monitoring almost their every move.

But Brian R. Martin was nonetheless outraged when, he says, he found a tiny recording device sewn into his son’s clothing. So he sued his ex, saying she violated federal wiretap laws and invading others’ privacy as well as his own as he conversed with lawyers, therapists and family members, according to the Houston Chronicle.

A previous Chronicle article provides additional details about the suit, which was filed in federal court in Houston earlier this month.

Martin, 36, is represented by Nebraska-based attorney John Kinney in the suit. Martin says he hopes to settle out of court. His ex declined to comment when contacted by the newspaper.

“People sometimes they get so blinded in these custody and divorce cases that they absolutely lose their minds,” said Kinney, who is also known for bringing a 2009 case over a four-year-old’s teddy bear that allegedly was bugged by her mom. “All this emotion, it cuts people’s IQ in half.”

Houston matrimonial attorney Reginald Hirsch, who wrote an article, Spy vs. Spy, on the laws that apply to such surveillance, tells the newspaper he prefers that clients not only turn off their cellphones when they consult with him but remove the battery.

He also advises those who are tempted by the ease and minimal expense of modern technology to spy on a spouse to try to get a grip on their emotions and avoid illicit activities that can put on the wrong side of at least a civil lawsuit. Regardless of what the fine points of the law may or may not require, he tells them, “the bottom line is that if it doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right.”

The Daily Mail also has a story.

Related coverage:

World-Herald: “Bugged teddy bear turns costly”

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