In November 2023, alongside Washington state co-counsel Emma Aubrey, we filed a lawsuit against T-Mobile in Washington for its pattern and practice of violating users’ most intimate privacy. An employee at one of its retail stores stole and disseminated nude images from our client’s phone during her trade-in. We sued the wireless giant for, among other things, failing to properly train its employees and establish protocols that would prevent sensitive data from being compromised. And in April 2024, we received a landmark decision that T-Mobile can’t dismiss our client’s claims related to its employees stealing nude photos during her phone trade-in. Jane Doe v. T-Mobile proceeds!

This win is a significant milestone for other victims of image-based sexual abuse (IBSA), as the court is allowing our claims based on vicarious liability (meaning the employer can be held liable for the actions of its employees) to proceed under the federal IBSA law and Washington state law. T-Mobile and its storefront retailers run promotions to induce customers to trade in their cellular phones for upgrades, while knowing and accepting that, during the trade-in process, some employees steal customers’ intimate sexual images and disseminate them. Customers will come in for upgrades, trade-ins, or repairs, and reasonably expect employees to respect their personal information and data.

But pervs and predators are everywhere, and companies are employing people seeking opportunities to prey on customers and steal their intimate images and videos. It is our hope that this recent victory is a step towards justice for other victims of IBSA in phone stores, and beyond.

Since last year, we’ve taken on several cases involving the major cell phone companies, including T-Mobile and others – where employees stole our clients’ intimate images and disseminated them under the guise of helping them with a device upgrade or other service. Companies failing to implement common-sense security measures to protect customers must be held accountable.

As our founder Carrie Goldberg puts, “you walk into a cell phone store and expect regular service without any harm or injury; you’re not thinking about the possibility that your most personal, intimate images are being stolen while you’re getting an upgrade. These companies need to train their employees and put up safeguards – don’t take phones out of customers’ line of sight and walk through each step whether it’s trade-in, upgrade, repair.”

If you or somebody you know has been the victim of IBSA at the hands wireless companies and their employees, please contact us here.

Order on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss

Now Read:

CNBC News Coverage: T-Mobile Sued After Employee Stole Nude Images from Customer Phone During Trade-in

Law 360 Coverage: T-Mobile Can’t Dodge Stolen Nude Photos Suit

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