Monday, May 13, 2002
Court Could Consider Tapes in Enjoining Harassment—C.A.
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A documentary tape on restoration of the Malibu pier that recorded a contractor’s threats against his partner could be used to obtain a harassment injunction, this district’s Court of Appeal has ruled.
The court agreed with the trial judge that gunnite contractor Anthony Federico, who threatened to shoot Bruce Darian and his dog if he lost money on the project, could be enjoined from harassing Darian, as could contractor Ronald Federico, who smashed Darian’s camera equipment on the job site.
Darian, whose company was part of a joint venture with Ronald Federico’s firm in a state contract to restore the pier after damaging winter storms, was constantly filming and taping the work.
After the threats and assaults, he went to Los Angeles Superior Court to seek an order that neither Federico “contact, molest, harass, attack, strike, threaten, sexually assault, batter, telephone, send any messages to, follow, stalk, destroy the personal property of, disturb the peace of, keep under surveillance or block movements” of Darian and introduced one of his tapes into evidence.
The Federicos said admission of the tapes violated Penal Code Sec. 632, which bars surreptitious recording of private conversations.
Retired Judge Julius M. Title, sitting on assignmnent, allowed the evidence in, reasoning that the conversations that were recorded could not be considered confidential because everyone knew Darian was recording everything.
In an unpublished opinion for Div. Seven Thursday, Presiding Justice Mildred Lillie agreed.
The justice noted that the tapes were made on the job site in the presence of lifeguards and project workers. She also pointed out that on one occasion Anthony Federico asked Darian three times, “Got your tape recording on?”
“Here the evidence established that the conversations took place on a construction site in the presence of other people,” Lillie said. “Additionally, there was evidence that the Federicos were aware that their conversations were being recorded. Substantial evidence supports the trial court’s finding that the conversations were not confidential and that the Federicos could have no objectively reasonable expectation of privacy.”
The case is Darian v. Federico, B141541.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company