Spying on Litigants

“We expect to see frivolous appeals.”

–attorney Ben C. Brodhead told Law360. See Law360 report.

The ABA Journal had an interesting article about the Georgia lawsuit alleging that Baker Donelsen and American Family Insurance conspired to spy on a litigant with illegally placed electronic devices. Judge Kimberly K. Anderson of DeKalb County, Georgia refused to toss a billion dollar lawsuit by Luisa Cruz Mezquital.

The spying case stems from an auto injury lawsuit filed by Cruz Mezquital against a driver insured by American Family Insurance, according to Anderson’s opinion. Cruz Mezquital won a $30 million judgment. However, the appellate courts reversed and remanded for a new trial. Lawyers from Baker Donelsen replaced the defendant driver’s original counsel.

Baker Donelsen hired Martinelli Investigations Inc. to follow and spy on Cruz Mezquital.  Martinelli Investigations investigators admitted that they trespassed on Cruz Mezquital’s property to attach GPS devices to her vehicles and to mount trail cameras on her property. Incredible invasion of privacy.

The case settled before the trial began. Cruz Mezquital then filed the spying suit in July 2021. She sought punitive damages of at least $12.2 billion from American Family Insurance and at least $1 billion from the law firm, according to prior coverage of the case.

A lawyer for Cruz Mezquital, Ben C. Brodhead, told Law360 that the ruling was expected because defense arguments lacked merit.