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Chipepo v. Raoof

A-1987-03T3 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 2004) (Unpublished)

PRIVACY; SURVEILLANCE—A neighbor properly using a surveillance camera for its own property is not liable to an adjacent property owner if the sweep of the camera unintentionally captures a view of some of the other property.

One neighbor sued another alleging that the other neighbor “had improperly directed four surveillance cameras on her property so as to encompass portions of their adjoining premises, thus enabling [the neighbor with the cameras] to monitor [the complaining neighbor’s] activities and comings and goings.” The neighbor with the cameras maintained that they were intended to provide security to her property and not to spy on the neighboring property. She argued that it was not possible for the cameras to provide a comprehensive view of her own property without including some portions of the complaining neighbor’s property. The lower court, “although expressing concern for [the complaining neighbor’s] privacy interests, dismissed the complaint, concluding that there was no legal authority precluding” the maintenance of cameras in this fashion. On appeal, the Appellate Division rejected, as distinguishable, the complaining neighbor’s citation of an earlier case. The earlier case “involved the publication and dissemination of fingerprints and mug shot upon arrest, but prior to conviction.” Here, once the lower court rejected the assertion that the neighbor with the cameras was intentionally monitoring the complaining neighbor’s activities, there was no basis for the Court to hold that use of the cameras in such a fashion was improper.

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