Yurish v. Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Signed Opinion)Annotate this Case
The Supreme Court held that the West Virginia Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Act (West Virginia Act), W. Va. Code 62-1D-1 through 16, runs afoul of the First Amendment to the federal Constitution and W. Va. Const. art. III, 7 and is unconstitutional as appleid to the extent that it allows a civil action to be maintained against an innocent third party who publishes information of public concern that was obtained by the unlawful interception of wire, oral, or electronic communication in violation of the statute but who did not participate in the unlawful interception of the communication.
Petitioners, public school employees, alleged that the mother of A.P., a special education student in their classroom, violated both the West Virginia Act and its federal construct by placing a secret audio recording device in A.P.'s hair, purporting to show Petitioners physically and verbally abusing students. After Petitioners resigned, they brought this complaint alleging that Respondents, various media groups or outlets, violated the West Virginia Act by using and disclosing Petitioners' intercepted communications. The circuit court granted Respondents' motions to dismiss. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in dismissing the case.