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I read an interesting article in the Cincinnati Enquirer, discussing the latest twists and turns in a saga involving the head of the local airport board, an airport board secretary, her boss, and a pocket dial.
Now, this story has a lot of craziness, and needless to say I am not a lawyer, but here’s my attempt to recap what happened. First, the cast of characters
- Jim Huff, a well known local real estate agent and the former chairman of the Kenton County Airport Board, which oversees operations at the Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG). The story of why Mr. Huff is the FORMER chairman is a good one too, but let’s keep our sagas straight, shall we!
- Bert Huff, his wife, and another former airport board member and chairwoman
- Candace McGraw, CVG chief executive officer
- Larry Savage, former airport board vice chairman, and Ms. McGraw’s supervisor
- Carol Spaw, a secretary at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport
(SEE ALSO: The curious case of Delta and CVG)
With me so far?
And then… the “pocket dial”
- Jim Huff, attending an airport conference in Bologna, Italy accidentally did a pocket dial to Ms. Spaw to her airport desk phone, and was not aware of it
- He then proceeded to discuss with Mr. Savage (also at the airport conference) the possibilities of either demoting or dismissing Ms. McGraw (the CEO of the airport) – remember that Mr. Savage was her superior
- Ms. Spaw admitted to taking notes and recording part of the 91 MINUTE pocket dial call. It’s unclear to me whether she made any attempts to alert Mr. Huff of the pocket dial, and it’s also unclear to me if she reported to Ms. McGraw, or if the two of them had conversations about the pocket dial (Ms. Spaw did report directly to Ms. McGraw)
- Later the Huffs had conversations in their hotel room, which Ms. Spaw also overheard (and took notes on).
Pocket Dial: The Lawsuit
The Huffs sued, saying she violated the federal wiretap act by improperly intercepting the pocket dial. Mr. Huff’s case was dimissed by U.S. Circuit Court Judge David Bunning, who said that Mr. Huff did not have a case to bring because he initiated the call. The Sixth Court of Appeals just upheld that ruling, but allowed BERT Huff’s case (the wife) to continue, because she SHOULD have had a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Again, I am not a lawyer, but I find this whole saga interesting. Better think twice before you pocket dial someone!