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CoreCivic and Securus Technologies Agree to Pay $3.7 Million to Settle Suit for Illegally Recording Attorney-Client Conversations

The complaint was filed on August 31, 2016, by attorney Adam Crane on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated (Plaintiffs). It alleged that Defendants violated Kansas and Missouri wiretapping statutes (K.S.A. 2-2502, et seq. and RsMo 542.010, et seq.) when they recorded phone calls, video consultations, and in-person conversations between attorneys and their clients at the LDC.

Attorney David Johnson replaced Adam Crane as the named plaintiff in March 2018. At that time the complaint was amended to allege violations of the Federal Wiretap Act (18 U.S.C. § 2510 et seq.).

According to the complaint, CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America) is a for-profit corporation based in Maryland that operates state and federal prisons, jails and detention facilities, including the LDC. Securus Technologies is a private corporation that provides telephonic communication and recording equipment for CoreCivic at the LDC.
Plaintiffs alleged that, as attorneys, they routinely contacted their clients, who were detained at the LDC, by phone, video conference or in-person visits.

The Plaintiffs and their clients were led to believe that these conversations were confidential and not recorded. But via discovery, Plaintiffs learned that Defendants intercepted and recorded these conversations. Further, the recordings of these conversations were stored on a server and then shared with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors. This placed clients in substantial risk of prejudice to their cases.

The terms of the proposed settlement called for the creation of a common fund of $3,700,000 to resolve the claims of an estimated 750 class members, inclusive of $1,295,000 for attorney fees. The Settlement Class included all attorneys who, during the period of August 31, 2013 through May 10, 2020, communicated with clients detained at the LDC and whose communications were intercepted, monitored, recorded, disclosed, or used by the Defendants or Defendants’ affiliates.

The Settlement Class was further divided into Subclass A and Subclass B. The former consisted of all attorneys whose telephone communications were intercepted, recorded, etc, and the latter consisted of attorneys whose in-person communications were intercepted, recorded etc. Plaintiffs in either Subclass A or Subclass B may receive up to $10,000 and Plaintiffs in both subclasses may receive up to $20,000. Named Plaintiffs David Johnson and Adam Crane will each be awarded $25,000. Any unclaimed funds will be donated to Legal Aid of Western Missouri and Kansas Legal Services.

Plaintiffs were represented by the Law Office of Joseph K. Eischens; Sandage Law, LLC; and attorney Michael A. Hodgson. See: Johnson v. CoreCivic, Case No. 4:16-cv-00947-SRB, U.S.D.C. (W.D. Mo.).

In a related story from the Associated Press, in 2019 U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson held the U.S. attorney’s office in Kansas in contempt of court after finding it willfully violated court orders regarding the systemic practice. The judge also found that federal prosecutors were improperly listening to the recorded communications. As a result, more than 100 criminal defendants have filed petitions seeking vacatur of their sentences or dismissal of their indictments. 

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Related legal case

Johnson v. CoreCivic