Salazar v. Golden State Warriors

This Folder examines investigative consumer [credit reports] and the special rules governing those reports and claims which may be asserted for violations concerning this special category of reports.
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David A. Szwak
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Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2005 4:15 am

Salazar v. Golden State Warriors

Post by David A. Szwak »

Salazar v. Golden State Warriors, 2000 WestLaw 246586 [U.S.D.C. N.D. Cal. 2/29/00]

The professional basketball team, the Golden State Warriors, terminated plaintiff from his job as equipment manager due to alleged drug usage. Golden State had hired a private investigating firm to verify whether plaintiff was using drugs. The private investigator video taped and surveilled plaintiff in various settings. Apparently, the private investigating firm procured plaintiff’s credit report. Therefore, one of plaintiff’s causes of action was asserted under the FCRA. Golden state moved to dismiss five (5) of plaintiff’s seven (7) claims. The court found video surveillance does not, in itself, violate a reasonable expectation of privacy. In granting a dismissal of the privacy action, the court noted that in order to make a case under the invasion of privacy, physical intrusion on solitude or private affairs, plaintiff must show that there was some intrusion into a private place in order to video tape or otherwise survey him. In this case, plaintiff was unable to show that he was ever video taped or surveyed in a private place. In fact, all of the video tape was taken in public. The court further found that even if plaintiff was unable to show intrusion into a private place, he could still make a case if he showed that the surveillance had been conducted in a highly offensive manner. In this case, all surveillance was done secretively and apparently without plaintiff’s knowledge at any point in time. The court likewise dismissed plaintiff’s California constitutional right to privacy claim for the reasons it dismissed with regard to the FCRA. Plaintiff asserted that the private investigating firm was a credit reporting agency. Footnote 2. Nonetheless, the court appears to have treated the FCRA claim as a privacy related claim rather than a 1681q or a 1681b(f) claim. In a rather peculiar manner, the court engaged in a discussion whether the alleged violation of the FCRA involved a substantial and fundamental public policy. The court found that it did not involved a substantial public policy and dismissed that claim. I believe the court was wrong in glossing over what was obviously an impermissible access claim even though plaintiff claimed that the private investigative agency fit the definition of consumer reporting agency. In fact, as we know now from the Vail opinion letter, arguably a private investigative agency would fit the definition of consumer reporting agency if plaintiff had offered proof, but he was not required under a motion to dismiss. It seems to me that the court should not have dismissed his claims under the FCRA. Under his allegations, the private investigative agency would have been required to issue notice to him.
David A. Szwak
Bodenheimer, Jones & Szwak, LLC
416 Travis Street, Suite 1404, Mid South Tower
Shreveport, Louisiana 71101
318-424-1400 / Fax 221-6555
President, Bossier Little League
Chairman, Consumer Protection Section, Louisiana State Bar Association
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