PHILADELPHIA – In a new lawsuit, a Huntingdon Valley couple accuses an electronics store and one of its employees of stealing their intimate and personal photos from a cellular telephone brought in for sale, threatening to publish them online and invading their privacy in the process.
On March 28, John Doe and Jane Doe of Huntingdon Valley filed suit in the Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas versus CEX Franklin Mills Mall Philadelphia, LLC and Ezekiel Rodriguez of Philadelphia, plus CEX America, Inc. of New York, N.Y.
The suit states the plaintiffs are using pseudonyms due to the privacy and security concerns of the subject incidents. On June 2, 2016, John Doe went to the CEX retail location at the Franklin Mills Mall to sell his cellular telephone. Upon arrival at the store, Rodriguez greeted John Doe and assisted him in the sale of that same telephone.
However, stored in the data of the phone were a number of photographs of John and Jane Doe in an undressed or semi-dressed state – the photos were of a highly personal nature and solely intended for the personal and private use of the plaintiffs.
Before turning over his telephone to the defendants, John Doe specifically asked Rodriguez if he should erase the data and memory on it. Rodriguez repeatedly assured him that he did not, as it was standard policy from the corporate defendant to erase all data once ownership of the phone was transferred, and none of his personal data would be seen by anyone else.
Within minutes of John Doe leaving defendants’ store, Jane Doe began receiving repeated text messages on her cellular telephone from a number that was previously unknown to her, along with a Facebook friend request from a Zeke Rodriguez, an individual also unknown to her.
When Jane Doe inquired as to the identity of the sender, she was the recipient of a number of sexually suggestive and/or vulgarity-infused messages, which accused John Doe of infidelity and propositioned Jane Doe for sexual activities. The sender also transmitted the aforementioned personal photographs to Jane Doe, photos they had not shared with anyone but which were contained on the phone John Doe sold earlier that day, and threatened to publish them on the Internet.
The sender also confirmed he obtained the images from the phone John Doe sold earlier that day, the suit says.
Jane Doe then informed John Doe as to the foregoing events, and John recognized a photo of the sender of the messages as Rodriguez, to whom he had sold his phone to at the CEX store. At that point, John realized that Rodriguez had not erased the data from his former phone, kept it to access that same data and stole it for the purposes described above.
This has caused the plaintiffs mental and psychological injury and trauma, mental and emotional anguish and embarrassment, pain and suffering, invasion of their privacy, damage to their reputation, loss of life’s pleasures, additional economic damages incurred in their attempts to avoid the trauma of the events described herein and the aggravation of any pre-existing injuries or conditions.
For counts of negligence, violation of the Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act, invasion of privacy, breach of contract, breach of warranty and intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiffs are seeking all actual damages in excess of $50,000, plus interest, costs, punitive damages and all other damages the Court deems just and appropriate.
The plaintiffs are represented by Arkady “Eric” Rayz of Kalikhman & Rayz, in Huntingdon Valley.
Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 180303324
From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at firstname.lastname@example.org