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Inmates, Attorneys Settle California Prison Call Recording Suit

June 17, 2020, 10:32 PM

Detainees and attorneys who say their calls were illegally recorded by an inmate communication provider gained preliminary approval of their proposed class action settlement from a California district court.

The settlement includes only injunctive relief, and no monetary relief, to the class members, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California said Tuesday.

Under the proposed settlement, Securus Technologies Inc. will institute a private call option and make customers aware of the fact that calls to non-approved numbers may be recorded, among other changes to its business practices. The company will pay each named plaintiff a service award of $20,000 and attorneys’ fees and costs of up to $840,000, Judge Jeffrey T. Miler wrote for the court.

The class, which alleged Securus unlawfully recorded calls between inmates and their attorneys at California correctional facilities, sued the company in 2016, asserting causes of action for violations of the California Invasion of Privacy Act and the California Business and Professions Code, among others.

The district court certified the class for the CIPA claim only, but denied the class’ motion for summary judgment on the issue of whether their CIPA claim required proof of intent.

The parties appealed. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted review of Securus’ position—whether the court could certify class claims without evidence the company had a class-wide intention about recording, and whether class litigation was superior.

The Ninth Circuit appointed a mediator, before dismissing the appeal for approval of the agreed upon settlement by the district court.

Foley & Lardner LLP, Law Offices of Ronald A. Marron and Law Office of Robert L. Teel represent the class. Squire Patton Boggs LLP represents Securus.

The case is Romero v. Securus Techs. Inc., 2020 BL 222200, S.D. Cal., No. 3:16-cv-01283, 6/16/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Maeve Allsup in San Francisco at mallsup@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Carmen Castro-Pagan at ccastro-pagan@bloomberglaw.com

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