- Roberts Law Firm, APC
On the heels of a $55 million dollar verdict in the Erin Andrews v. Marriott trial, The Roberts Law Firm is bringing attention to another company that failed to protect its patron’s privacy – Starbucks.
The $55 million verdict against Marriott sent a clear message. The hotel didn’t do enough to prevent a hidden camera from being placed inside ESPN Reporter Erin Andrews’ hotel room. Simply put, the invasion into Ms. Andrews’ privacy would not have occurred if Marriott trained employees about the importance of protecting a guest’s privacy.
Starbucks is standing next in line to learn the importance of protecting their patrons’ privacy. Although Starbucks doesn’t have hotel rooms, they have unisex restrooms, which is a place where patrons expect privacy and want to feel comfortable. Sadly, the Starbucks unisex restroom has posed a significant risk to unsuspecting Starbucks patrons over the last few years. Like a hotel room, a restrooms should never be equipped with recording devices.
Starbucks restrooms have long been the target of hidden camera cases. In 2011, a father and daughter using a unisex restroom in a Washington D.C. Starbucks noticed an unusual device which turned out to be a small camera. It was located on the bottom of the sink and pointed toward the toilet.
About a month after the Washington D.C. incident, police in Glendora, California arrested a man for placing a camera in a unisex Starbucks restroom. A search warrant uncovered video footage of 45 victims using the restroom. It is unknown how long the camera was placed in the unisex restroom.
In 2014, a man from North Texas was arrested for placing a hidden camera in a Starbucks restroom in Dallas-Ft. Worth. In April of 2015, police arrested a man that planted a camera in a Walnut Creek, California Starbucks. This was the man’s second arrest in two months for placing cameras in the Starbucks restroom. In July 2015, a five-year-old boy found a hidden camera under the sink in Starbucks’ restroom in Lancaster, CA.
This brings us to Brea, California. The story is nothing new. In July 2015, a man was arrested for placing a camera in a Starbucks at the Birch Street Promenade located at 260 West Birch Street. The man placed a camera in the restroom and recorded an unknown number of victims. Brea police were able to identify 33 victims, and the man has been arrested and is facing substantial criminal charges.
Holding these criminals accountable is important, but what about Starbucks? Haven’t there been enough victims such that they should now institute a policy to make sure their employees do an hourly sweep for hidden cameras in the restroom? Starbucks employees are already required to check the restroom for cleanliness, should they also do a quick check for hidden recording devices? How many times will Starbucks customers have their privacy violated before Starbucks institutes necessary training sufficient to protect customers?
Our firm represents a woman that was secretly recorded in the Brea Starbucks. She is one of 33 identified victims. The unidentified victims are numerous, yet each of the victims has suffered a violation of their privacy and has civil remedies against Starbucks. The victims have experienced the embarrassment of having their privacy invaded in the most compromising manner.
In our firm’s lawsuit we are compelling the appearance of Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to sit for a deposition. We will ask him how many customers will have their privacy invaded before they institute simple training for Starbucks employees. The lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for the victims as well as an order for Starbucks to add training regarding the risk of hidden cameras in their unisex bathrooms. The case is being handled by Consumer Protection Attorney Michael Jeandron of The Roberts Law Firm.
“Now it is time for Starbucks to embrace simple safety training for their employees to assure that customers are safe anywhere inside Starbucks. Our goal is to protect the privacy of all present and future Starbucks patrons,” said Jeandron.