ACORN v. O'Keefe

NOTE: The information and commentary contained in this database entry are based on court filings and other informational sources that may contain unproven allegations made by the parties. The truthfulness and accuracy of such information is likely to be in dispute. Information contained in this entry is current as of the last event mentioned in the "Description" section below; additional proceedings might have taken place in this matter since this event.

Summary

Threat Type: 

Lawsuit

Date: 

09/17/2008

Status: 

Concluded

Location: 

Maryland

Disposition: 

Dismissed (total)

Verdict or Settlement Amount: 

N/A
The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) sued James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Breitbart.com LLC for allegedly violating Maryland surveillance and wiretapping law by making and disseminating a hidden-camera video of ACORN employees Shera Williams and Tonja Thompson giving tax advice to... read full description
Parties

Party Receiving Legal Threat: 

James O'Keefe; Hannah Giles; Breitbart.com LLC

Type of Party: 

Organization

Type of Party: 

Individual
Organization

Location of Party: 

  • Maryland
  • District of Columbia

Location of Party: 

  • Maryland
Description

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) sued James O'Keefe, Hannah Giles, and Breitbart.com LLC for allegedly violating Maryland surveillance and wiretapping law by making and disseminating a hidden-camera video of ACORN employees Shera Williams and Tonja Thompson giving tax advice to O'Keefe and Giles, who were posing as a pimp and prostitute.  The video, which appeared on BigGovernment.com and YouTube, has led to considerable public controversy.

According to the Washington Post:

"The video and audio footage was taken without the knowledge of Williams and/or Thompson and in violation of Maryland's Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code §§ 10-402(a) and 10-410, which requires two party consent to all electronic surveillance. Violation of the law is a felony, and entitles parties whose rights were violated to sue," ACORN said in a statement announcing the suit.

ACORN filed suit in Circuit Court for Baltimore City.  It seeks damages and a preliminary and permanent injunction against further dissemination fo the video. 

Update:

03/11/10 - Ben Sheffner reports that the court has dismissed the case after ACORN failed to serve the complaint on the defendants within Maryland's 120-day limit.

Details

Content Type: 

  • Video

Publication Medium: 

Website

Subject Area: 

  • Citizen Journalism
  • Recording Others
Court Information & Documents

Jurisdiction: 

  • Maryland

Source of Law: 

  • Maryland

Court Name: 

Circuit Court for Baltimore City

Court Type: 

State

Relevant Documents: