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Spyware Spanking when used in Divorce

Divorce sometimes makes people act irrationally. Parties suspicious of their spouses or attempting to "dig up" dirt should not cross the line and act illegally in seeking information.

The United States District Court in Tennessee, was confronted with unfortunate and illegal behavior by one of the divorcing parties. The husband, Roy Klumb, a wealthy man, brought this action against his former wife, Crystal Goan, alleging that she had violated the Federal and Tennessee Wiretap Act.

Crystal Goan was a law student when she met Roy, when she worked at Roy's lumber company, which was started by Roy's grandfather and run by his father. Roy was a part owner of the lumber company. There was a prenuptial agreement in place that had certain benefits for Crystal if Roy was unfaithful.

Attempting to get dirt on Roy, Crystal placed a software program, eBlaster on several of Roy's computers to capture his keystrokes to learn his passwords and to intercept his emails. She installed this spyware on his personal and some work computers without his consent to intercept his incoming emails, sending a copy of his emails to her yahoo email account.  She also changed some of the emails to make them appear that he was having an affair.

After a trial that the Court described as airing their dirty laundry, the Court concluded that Crystal violated the federal and state wiretap statute. The Court awarded Roy $10,000 in statutory damages (the maximum allowed) along with punitive damages of an additional $10,000, as Crystal's "violation of the wiretap acts was part of a larger scheme to gain advantage of the plaintiff (Roy) during their divorce thereby warranting punitive damages."

If you believe that your spouse is using spyware to gain advantage in an upcoming divorce, contact Rhode Island Attorney Steven Hirsch and we can work with you in your divorce and seek relief to determine if there is spyware on your computer.  Don't use spyware like Crystal used it for it is illegal and subject to civil and criminal penalties.  Let us help you find other methods to discover facts about your spouse if they are necessary for your case.

Klumb vs. Goan, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, No 2:09-cv-115, Magistrate Judge Carter, filed July 19, 2012

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