Deep Pocket Files: Anthony Pellicano fallout

Like libertarian blogger Amber Taylor, I’ve been enjoying the DVD of the show “Veronica Mars.” Kristen Bell plays a perky private eye who uses bugs and stolen medical records to solve cases. I just have to suspend my disbelief, and understand that Mars lives in a fictional world like that of Bruce Wayne where the laws that would have her sued into oblivion for her wiretapping and HIPAA violations don’t exist.

The Pellicano scandal (Apr. 3 and links therein) shows the real-world results. It’s natural that wiretapping victims are suing Pellicano and the law firms that hired him over his alleged wiretapping and bribery tactics.

But plaintiffs’ lawyers aren’t stopping with the egregious wrongdoers. For example, Craig Stevens pled guilty to taking bribes to run searches on Pellicano clients—a sign of Pellicano incompetence, since the data would be available from public databases on the Internet. (Want to know who’s in jail?) Stevens has resigned from the Beverly Hills Police Department, but the city (along with Los Angeles, who allegedly had their own bribed cops) is being sued for failure to stop their officer from being bribed. Los Angeles attorney Kevin McDermott predicts that the telephone company will also be sued for not doing enough to stop Pellicano wiretapping and, sure enough, Lisa Bonder Kerkorian has sued AT&T. In the Vanity Fair article, don’t miss the bit about how Daniel and Abner Nicherie allegedly used a blizzard of over a hundred lawsuits to protect a $40 million swindle. (Bryan Burrough and John Connolly, “Inside Hollywood’s Big Wiretap Scandal”, Vanity Fair, June 2006; Gabriel Snyder, “Names take aim at Pellicano article”, Variety, Apr. 28 (via Defamer); Greg Krikorian and Andrew Blankstein, “Filmmaker Says He Lied in FBI Probe”, Los Angeles Times, Apr. 18).

One Comment

  • Speaking of the TV and HIPAA, in this Tuesday’s episode of _Gilmore Girls_, Rory’s boyfriend is in the hospital. She tries to get info on his condition but they’ll only tell the family because “it’s hospital policy”. The episode tries to paint it as “damn those hospital bureaucrats” but my first thought was “They can’t because of HIPAA”.