Deal v Spears - 1 Deal v Spears Eighth Circuit Court of...

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Deal v. Spears , Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (1992) Bowman, Circuit Judge. Newell and Juanita Spears have owned and operated the White Oak Package Store near Camden, Arkansas, for about twenty years. The Spearses live in a mobile home adjacent to the store. The telephone in the store has an extension in the home, and is the only phone line into either location. The same phone line thus is used for both the residential and the business phones. Sibbie Deal was an employee of the store from December 1998 until she was fired in August 1990. The store was burglarized in April 1990 and approximately $16,000 was stolen. The Spearses believed that it was an inside job and suspected that Deal was involved. Hoping to catch the suspect in an unguarded admission, Newell Spears purchased and installed a recording device on the extension phone in the mobile home. When turned on, the machine would automatically record all conversations made or received on either phone, with no indication to parties using the phone that their conversation was being recorded. Before purchasing the recorder, Newell Spears told a sheriff’s department investigator that he was considering this surreptitious monitoring and the investigator told Spears that he did not “see anything wrong with that.” Calls were taped from June 27, 1990, through August 13, 1990. During that period, Sibbie Deal, who was married to Mike Deal at the time, was having an extramarital affair with Calvin Lucas, then married to Pam Lucas. Deal and Lucas spoke on the telephone at the store frequently and for long periods of time while Deal was at work. (Lucas was on 100% disability so he was at home all day.) … The trial court concluded that much of the conversation between the two was “sexually provocative.” Deal also made or received numerous other personal telephone calls during her workday. Even before Newell Spears purchased the recorder, Deal was asked by her employers to cut down on her use of the phone for personal calls, and the Spearses told her that they might resort to monitoring calls or installing a pay phone in order to curtail the abuse. Newell Spears listened to virtually all twenty-two hours of the tapes he recorded,
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Deal v Spears - 1 Deal v Spears Eighth Circuit Court of...

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