This post was authored by Alysha Stein-Manes and Daniel Seitz

Remote surveillance is an area of expanding interest for law enforcement agencies.  Police departments continue to equip their sworn officers with body-mounted video cameras (“body cams”), and, in California, the Legislature has begun to regulate discoverability of body cam footage.  Agencies in California and across

This blog was authored by Megan Lewis.

Earlier this month, in Perez v. City of Roseville, the U.S. Court of Appeals held that terminating a police officer for engaging in an off-duty, extramarital affair with a co-worker could violate the officer’s right to privacy under the U.S. Constitution.

Background Facts

Perez, a probationary police

Keyboard.jpgHarvard University recently had some explaining to do.  Last fall, the University conducted an investigation into the source information leaked to the media about students at the Ivy League school who had cheated.  The investigation included searching the work e-mail accounts of 16 Resident Deans without telling them.  Although the University eventually told the one

Password.jpgGovernor Jerry Brown last week signed two new privacy laws that will go into effect January 1, 2013.  AB 1844 and SB 1349 prohibit employers, colleges and universities from requiring or asking prospective and current employees and students to disclose social media usernames and passwords.  It also prohibits requiring or requesting employees and students to

Facebook_small.jpgMaryland recently became the first in the nation to ban employers from asking job applicants and employees for their Facebook and other social media passwords.  The law was signed into legislation by Maryland’s Governor approximately one year after the ACLU took on the case of Robert Collins who claimed he was forced to turn over

GPS.JPGLast summer we reported that an employer may under California law use GPS devices to track employer owned or leased vehicles.  We recently revisited this issue in light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in United States v. Jones Although Jones does address the use of GPS devices to track vehicles, the holding

This post was co-authored by Elizabeth Arce

Social-media-icons.pngIt seems that every time you turn on the news some new technological innovation is being announced.  For example, recent weeks have seen the unveiling of new tablet computers and smartphones.  In addition, social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn are constantly announcing upgrades to their

This guest post was authored by James E. Oldendorph Jr.

In October 2009, Metrolink installed two inward-facing cameras in all of its locomotive cabs.  While one of the inward-facing cameras records the control panel and gauges, the other is located seven to eight feet from where the locomotive engineer is seated inside the cab and captures a 270 degree span of the interior of the cab, including a view of the engineer.  There is also a forward-facing camera which does not capture any activities or sounds in the locomotive cab, but records video images of the rail right of way, tracks, and train signals.  Metrolink installed cameras and microphones in its locomotive cabs in the wake of the tragic Chatsworth railroad collision of September 12, 2008, involving a Metrolink train in which 25 people were killed and over 100 injured.  The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the collision was caused in part by an engineer using a cell phone to send text messages while operating the train.

On October 20, 2009, the union for a class of Metrolink locomotive engineers, and one individual engineer, sued seeking declaratory and injunctive relief against Metrolink and the removal of the cameras from the locomotive cabs.  The plaintiffs contended that the engineers had a reasonable expectation of privacy in the locomotive cabs, and that Metrolink’s audio and video monitoring system violated the engineers’ procedural and substantive due process rights.  Plaintiffs also asserted that Metrolink’s actions were preempted by state law.

On June 1, 2011, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Luis A. Lavin granted Metrolink’s motion for summary judgment on all causes of action, finding that there were no issues of material fact warranting trial.  This ruling resulted in a victory for Metrolink on all claims and judgment in its favor.

Judge Lavin found that Metrolink’s camera policy and system did not violate the engineers’ constitutional right to procedural due process because they failed to establish that they were deprived of any life, liberty or property interest or of any statutorily conferred benefit, and failed to establish that the camera policy undermined their collective bargaining agreement with their employer, Amtrak.  Plaintiffs further could not show that Metrolink’s policy and system violated their substantive due process rights in that they failed to show any form of outrageous or egregious conduct constituting a true abuse of power on the part of Metrolink.  Additionally, Judge Lavin determined that Metrolink’s implementation of the camera policy reasonably related to a proper legislative goal of promoting safety on the railways.


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