California Court Rejects Latest Challenge to Business Telephone Monitoring

Kelley Drye Client Advisory

A federal court in San Diego, California has granted summary judgment to teleservices company GC Services L.P. in a case challenging the company’s telephone monitoring practices. Thomasson v. GC Services L.P., Case No. 05cv0940-LAB (S.D. Cal. July 16, 2007). GC Services provides call center and debt collection services to a variety of government and commercial clients. Plaintiffs argued that the company’s practice of monitoring its own telephone calls for quality control purposes violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”) and the privacy laws of California and a number of other states. In a July 16, 2007 ruling, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California ruled that the monitoring practices at issue were undertaken in the ordinary course of business and that GC Services enforced policies to disclose its monitoring programs, so there was no FDCPA violation or invasion of privacy under California law. The complaint sought a nationwide class action on behalf of every person that had telephone conversations with GC Services that were monitored or recorded in twelve specified states.

This Advisory discusses how Thomasson fits into the larger trend of recent legal challenges to business call monitoring because of privacy concerns.