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Ring Camera lawsuit HOA v homeowner / Ring and police cooperation
July 19,  2024
Ring Camera lawsuit HOA v homeowner
          A North Carolina woman worried about her safety installed a Ring camera on her front door.  The HOA objected, citing its own Rules and Regulations prohibiting the use of cameras outdoors because it violates privacy of others.  She refused to remove the camera so the HOA begin fining her $100, eventually sued, and demanded legal fees on top of the fines.  The woman insisted on a jury trial. Well, decisions have consequences.
          She lost, judgement for the HOA for over $70,000 and the HOA is still seeking additional legal fees for $115,000.  This is in Fat City Condos in NoDa, NC. 
          What’s interesting about this case is not its application to privacy rules, because generally use of outdoor cameras do not violate privacy laws.  This case is about power of the HOA to make Rules for its residents, and as this homeowner found out, that power is extremely broad and absolute absent violation of others Constitutional civil rights. 
          Thanks to Jim C for sending this over.
PS: As installers you should be mindful that you do have to be careful about HOA and other community rules and regulations other than building codes or statutes. While you can install whatever the customer wants it's probably a good idea to remind the customer that there may be HOA rules to follow; let the customer decide if they will risk the install.  On a bit of a side note, if you're getting RMR for monitoring the cameras and the HOA clamps down and requires removal, you may be challenged by the customer regarding continued payment under the contract.  I had a fairly weird communication from a dissatisfied homeowner the other day.  Her alarm co told her to call me if she had any complaints, so they did [would have been nice if the alarm co called me first to authorize my involvement].  The email from the woman was so bizarre.  She claimed the alarm co could no longer service her and was thus in breach of the contract, entitling her to cancel the contract.  Why couldn't they continue servicing her?  She moved to another city and state.  She was in the wedding gown business.  I asked her if she would have to continue paying for her car if she lost her license, or if her customer would have to pay for the wedding gown if the wedding was canceled.  She thought these weren't good analogies. So I entertained myself for a few emails and then told her to get lost.  No doubt pursuing her would be waste of time but she was worried about her credit rating.  
Ring and police cooperation 
          According to Associated Press, that bastille of honest and reliable reporting, Ring has changed its policy of cooperating with police who request camera data.  Ring will now require a search warrant. 
          I do not believe a search warrant is necessary to provide the data if the video data is from equipment installed, monitored and stored by the alarm dealer or central station pursuant to a Kirschenbaum Contract™ because the data is owned by the central station or dealer, not the subscriber. 

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
200 Garden City Plaza
Garden City, NY 11530
516 747 6700 x 301