On Wednesday, a federal judge in the Central District of California dismissed Humana Pharmacy Inc.’s motion to dismiss a putative class action suit alleging the company illegally recorded telephone calls with customers, finding that the California Invasion of Privacy Act (“CIPA”) does not exempt quality assurance recordings.

In its motion to dismiss, Humana argued that CIPA exempts “service observing,” or a business’s recording of calls between its employees and customers for quality assurance purposes.  Judge Josephine Staton Tucker rejected Humana’s interpretation of the statute and further found that plaintiff’s complaint did not allege that Humana recorded the call for service observing purposes, refusing to read such purpose into the allegations.

The court also rejected Humana’s contention that plaintiff’s complaint failed to allege that the company did not provide proper notice to him at the outset that the call was being recorded. The court held that plaintiff’s allegation that he was not warned “at any point during the telephone conversation” was sufficient at the pleadings stage, but acknowledged that the issue could be raised again in a motion for summary judgment. 

Humana also argued that § 632 does not include calls made from cell phones because the statute excludes communications by “radio.” The court disagreed, finding that although cell phones operate on radio frequencies, the plain language of § 632 includes confidential communications by means of a “telephone or other device.”  

Finally, the order rejected Humana’s argument that the call between plaintiff and the customer service representative was not confidential (an argument discussed in previous blog posts), finding that plaintiff had sufficiently alleged a reasonable expectation that his communication with Humana—which was to discuss a sensitive medical condition—would be confidential.