GENEVA – A judge on Tuesday dismissed two counts of a lawsuit concerning a hidden camera that a North Aurora couple says was placed in their bedroom by their neighbor’s 16-year-old son.
David and Katerina Speers originally filed the lawsuit in December against Scott and Teresa Thompson and their son, whom the Speers previously hired as a baby sitter, seeking more than $50,000 in damages for invasion of privacy.
Judge Edward Schreiber in April dismissed both counts of the lawsuit without prejudice, saying the plaintiff’s attorney failed to provide specific facts and damages.
David and Katerina Speers re-filed a lawsuit in July. Schreiber dismissed Tuesday two counts of the amended lawsuit without prejudice, and the Speers’ attorney, Michael Funkey, indicated that he planned to re-file another amended suit.
The Thompsons asked that two counts of the amended suit be dismissed, and one of the counts centered around whether the Thompsons’ son could be sued because he is a minor and has been diagnosed with high-functioning Asperger syndrome.
Schreiber said he didn’t see any reason Scott and Teresa Thompson couldn’t be named in the suit, but said their minor son can’t be the only person named. On those grounds, Schreiber dismissed the first count of the suit.
Schreiber also dismissed the second count, which states that the Thompsons were negligent in the supervision of their minor son.
They contend that their neighbors knew their son, is prone to make poor decisions and they “failed to carefully supervise his activities and determine the location and use of the aforesaid camera,” according to court documents.
The Thompsons’ attorney, Thomas Scherschel, argued that in order to state a cause of action, the plaintiffs would need to prove that the defendants were aware that a “bad act” would occur while their son was using a camera and a receiver capable of transmitting audio and images. Schreiber said the lawsuit showed that the Thompsons did know about the receiver, but did not clearly indicate whether they knew that their son also had a camera.
“The simple possession of a receiver is not a wrongful act,” Scherschel said.
He went on to say that the Thompons’ son had no disciplinary problems at school and “not so much as a parking ticket,” which he said shows that his parents couldn’t have predicted that their son would misuse the computer equipment in his possession.
“I don’t think I can draw a reasonable inference that he was going to use the camera for something harmful because he had never done that in the past,” Schreiber said. “It’s just too great of a leap. ... There’s no indication that his parents even knew of a camera that went with the receiver.”
Schreiber gave Funkey 30 days to amend the lawsuit, which Funkey said he planned to do.
A status hearing was scheduled for Nov. 5.