W.D.Ky.: 4A doesn’t apply in civil discovery between private parties

In a civil dispute, defendant can get discovery of plaintiff’s text messages. Her Fourth Amendment and reasonable expectation of privacy argument is unavailing because they don’t apply to private parties. Petty v. Bluegrass Cellular, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 64853 (W.D. Ky. Apr. 2, 2021):

Petty further argues that she and the message senders and recipients have “a reasonable expectation of privacy for any and all text message correspondence.” [DN 50 at 5]. And that the “content of these electronically stored communications is subject to Fourth Amendment protection.” Id. (citing United States v. Warshak, 631 F.3d 266 (6th Cir. 2010)). However, as Warshak explains, a private entity such as Bluegrass cannot be implicated, because the “purpose of the Fourth Amendment ‘is to safeguard the privacy and security of individuals against arbitrary invasions by government officials.'” Warshak, 631 F.3d at 283 (6th Cir. 2010) (citing Camara v. Mun. Ct., 387 U.S. 523, 528 (1967)). Thus, the information is not protected by the fourth amendment, and Bluegrass is entitled to discovery related to the text messages.

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