The police chief for Industry filed a lawsuit against AT&T Mobility recently, claiming the company improperly released his cell phone records to his wife.
Garold Ray Miller filed the claim for invasion of privacy in Beaver County last month, but it was moved to federal court on Tuesday.
According to the complaint, Mr. Miller's wife confronted him in the spring of 2008 in regard to his communicating with a woman about a criminal investigation.
"Miller denied having communicated with the woman in question, as he had known the woman growing up and had also dated her in high school, and he did not wish to alarm his wife," the lawsuit said.
However, it continued, Mr. Miller's wife insisted he was lying and later told him that she had gotten access to his phone records from AT&T to prove it.
"His wife also revealed that the [AT&T] representative conducted a number search on his records, in order for her to confirm her suspicions that he was communicating with this woman."
The complaint goes on to say the relationship between Mr. Miller and his wife became severely burdened. Further, when they went out for drinks one night, "Miller's wife became violently ill, confessing that she had been troubled by her suspicions."
Because of the invasion of privacy by AT&T, Mr. Miller contends, he suffered psychological pain and suffering, as well as humiliation, shame, embarrassment, self-revulsion and damage to his self-esteem.
Gianni Floro, the attorney representing Mr. Miller, said his client used that phone for work, and because of the sensitive, criminal information that could be shared on it, privacy is essential.
"This is one of those areas that should be offered additional protection in terms of privacy," he said.
Mr. Miller's wife was not named on the account, Mr. Floro said, and should not have had access to it.
Marty Richter, a spokesman for AT&T, would not comment on the pending litigation.
"AT&T values its customers and takes its obligation to protect customer data very seriously," he said.
Paula Reed Ward: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2620.