A Michigan judge Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit accusing an attorney of illegal eavesdropping while representing former art gallery owners in a dispute with painter Thomas Kinkade and his California company.
Filed in March by Thomas Kinkade Co. of Morgan Hill, Calif., the lawsuit alleged that attorney Joseph Ejbeh improperly transmitted over the Internet a live feed of arbitration testimony to Terry Sheppard, a witness in the case last year.
Sheppard allegedly used the instantaneously transcribed testimony to help Ejbeh formulate questions for other witnesses, according to the lawsuit, which contended the practice was illegal under Michigan's eavesdropping law. However, Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Rudy J. Nichols ruled that no laws were broken.
"The eavesdropping statute requires that the alleged eavesdropping be practiced in a private conversation," said Ejbeh's attorney, Steven M. Wolock. "The judge found that an arbitration proceeding is not a private conversation."