Garcia v. City of Laredo, —F.3d—, 2012 WL 6176479 (5th Cir. Dec. 12, 2012)
On appeal, the Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s interpretation of the Stored Communications Act (“SCA”) and concluded that it does not apply to data stored in a personal cell phone.
Plaintiff was previously employed as a police dispatcher for the City of Laredo. On November 15, 2008, Plaintiff’s cell phone was removed from her unlocked locker by an officer’s wife who then shared its contents with the city’s deputy assistant city manger and the interim/assistant police chief because she believed that she had discovered evidence of Plaintiff’s violations of department policy. Later, investigators successfully downloaded one video recording and more than thirty digital images from Plaintiff’s phone, but were unable to download text messages. Following further investigation it was determined that Plaintiff had violated department rules and regulations and she was terminated from her employment.