Increasingly, divorcing spouses are using data breach and privacy laws to sue each other in federal and state court. This leads to “spillover” litigation, as the divorce proceeding spills over into another separate action. Divorce lawyers would be well served to familiarize themselves and their clients with applicable data breach law.
The case of LaRocca v. LaRocca, 2014 WL 5040720 (E.D. La. Sept. 29, 2014) illustrated this trend in the context of claims under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (“ECPA”). This law prohibits unauthorized access to emails, among other things. In the LaRocca case, Eloisa LaRocca accused her former husband of doing just that in order to gain an upper hand in the divorce. The ex-husband moved for summary judgment on the grounds that she had no expectation of privacy. The court denied the summary judgment, ruling that once LaRocca filed for divorce, her emails were off limits and that she had a reasonable expectation that they would not be reviewed by her soon to be ex husband.