Madison - St. Clair Record

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St. Jacob attorney added as plaintiff in class action against Yahoo; Alleges email eavesdropping violated attorney-client privilege

By The Madison County Record | Sep 14, 2015


BENTON – Seeking to strengthen an eavesdropping suit against email provider Yahoo in federal court, lawyers at Goldenberg Heller added a lawyer as a plaintiff.

They amended their class action complaint on Sept. 8, to assert claims for Carol Sparks of St. Jacob along with original plaintiff Kaylynn Rehberger of Highland.

Neither subscribed to Yahoo, according to the complaint, but Yahoo intercepted messages they sent to Yahoo subscribers.

“Sparks has not consented to Yahoo’s interception and disclosure of the content of her emails, and has sent and received confidential attorney client emails to and from Yahoo Mail users without knowledge that Yahoo intercepted and disclosed the information contained therein,” their lawyers wrote.

They wrote that on several occasions this year, Sparks sent emails to a client about tax and estate planning, business negotiations, and purchases of real estate.

“Sparks intended and had a reasonable expectation that such electronic communications would be private under the circumstances,” they wrote.

They wrote that her communications expressly warned that they were to be used exclusively by the individuals receiving them.

Former Madison County chief judge Ann Callis represents Rehberger and Sparks, along with Goldenberg Heller lawyers Thomas Rosenfeld and Kevin Green.

They filed Rehberger’s complaint in June, after a federal judge in California denied certification of a national class action on the same allegation.

They accused Yahoo of surreptitious, intentional and willful violations of the Illinois eavesdropping statute.

They sought certification of a class action and an injunction against intercepting, scanning, storing and disclosing messages without consent.

Magistrate Judge Donald Wilkerson set a Sept. 29 deadline for Yahoo’s answer to the amended complaint.

District Judge Staci Yandle presides over the action.

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