A Pittsburgh woman is suing Rivers Casino, members of its security staff, her ex-husband, and his lawyer, claiming they used the casino’s video surveillance system to spy on her while she was gambling there last fall.
In a suit filed in the Court of Common Pleas Of Allegheny County Civil Division on Aug.3, Hayley Clerici alleges Rivers’ security staff used the casino’s video surveillance system to zoom in on her cell phone and read and record texts, emails, and personal banking information.
The suit claims security staff recorded Clerici’s bank account information when she used a mobile-banking app on her phone and a casino ATM. It also alleges Rivers staff recorded her personal emails and texts on a number of occasions while she was patronizing the casino.
Clerici then alleges Rivers’ security staff handed the recordings over to her ex-husband’s lawyer, Dennis McCurdy, in compliance with a subpoena the casino should have known was invalid.
The suit claims the lawyer shared the recordings with her ex-husband, Scott Scherer, an Allegheny County police officer with whom she was involved in a custody battle. Finally, Clerici alleges Scherer used the recordings, which contained information about her personal finances and relationships, to publicly embarrass her.
The eye in the sky
The suit alleges these actions violated the Wiretap Act and constitute a complete disregard of Clerici’s rights and privacy.
The lawsuit claims Clerici had a reasonable expectation of privacy in regards to personal text messages and emails while at Rivers. She claims to have sent the messages privately. Plus, at no time did she hold up her phone to display the messages, read them aloud, or share them.
Clerici is seeking at least $35,000 in damages on each of 17 different counts against the various defendants.
An almost identical lawsuit has also been filed by Julie Capone. Capone is a friend of Clerici who gambled with her at Rivers. She alleges McCurdy subpoenaed security footage of her text messages and emails, along with anyone associated with Clerici.
Rivers management have declined to comment publicly.
PGCB surveillance regulations
Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board regulations require PA casinos to use surveillance systems. However, the systems must comply with wiretapping and electronic surveillance laws. PGCB must approve the systems. Plus, PA casinos are required to provide access to the systems to the Board and the Pennsylvania State Police.
The regulations mandate casinos use light-sensitive cameras with 360° pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities. However, the cameras are for monitoring:
- Gaming activity
- Cage operations
- The count room
- The movement of cash and chips
- All entrances and exits
- Any other activity or areas designated by the Bureau of Casino Compliance