On July 17, 2009, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Andrea McNulty against Ben Roethlesberger, a football quarterback, John Koster, the Harrah’s Casino Northern Nevada President, Guy Hyder, the Security Chief at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, et al. (RGJ.com, 2009) This post will not address the main issues or complaints of the lawsuit.  It will discuss the complaint of Invasion of Privacy, Trespass and Civil Conspiracy.  The Invasion of Privacy complaint states that the defendants Hyder and Masters entered the Plaintiff’s home and gathered information including, without limitation, information from Plaintiff’s computer and took her computer and other private information. (pp 30-31.) 

The Trespass complaint ,although similar to the Invasion of Privacy complaint, includes the complaint that the defendants Hyder and Masters also disclosed, said information to Harrah’s and to each other and publicly disclosed the private information. 

The Civil Conspiracy complaint discussed how the defendants conspired with one another and acted in concert, to accomplish the illegal act of aiding and abetting the defendant Ben Roethlisberger, after the fact.

Did Harrah’s or its agents, Hyder and Masters, act properly in their company security role?  Did the defendants have the authority to enter the plaintiff’s home?  Did the defendants have the right to look at or take the computer even if the computer belonged to the company?  Was this a cover up for a famous star that had a professional friendship with John Koster?  Did Hyder and Masters act on behalf of an order from Koster? 

These are just a few questions that a forensic investigator could possibly answer in an official investigation on the recovery of corporate files, logs and phone records. 

Personally, I believe that this was a botched case from the beginning.  There was never a police report filed.  There was never an official collection of evidence.  The Security Chief, Hyder, may have acted unlawfully along with Masters in entering the Plaintiff’s home and removing evidence and then disclosing it privately and publically.  If they “acted improperly for the benefit of Harrah’s and for the benefit of Roethlisberger, to prevent injury and investigation of the acts and conduct of Ben Roethlisberger”, should they be found guilty and sent to jail, even if the original complaint was determined to be without foundation?

Would this have happened to an average person, or would it have been handled differently?  Do we handle forensic evidence differently for celebrities based on their celebrity status?  If you were the security chief, how would you have handled this investigation ?

References:

Reno Gazette Journal, (2009)[Electronic Edition] Retrieved on August 23, 2009 from http://www.rgj.com/assets/pdf/J7138957721.PDF