Wiretap Lawsuit Against Vrdolyak Law Group Can Proceed

Vrdolyak Law Group LLC must face a proposed class action alleging it recorded the conversations and phone calls of employees without their consent in violation of the Federal Wiretap Act and state laws, a federal court ruled.

Plaintiff Daniel Alholm timely filed his state and federal wiretapping claims against the law firm, Judge Mary M. Rowland of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois said Tuesday.

Rowland rejected the firm’s argument that Alholm filed the wiretapping claims after the two-year statute of limitations had run, and denied its motion to dismiss as to those claims. She also dismissed Alholm’s fraud claims against the firm, but affirmed that the court would exercise supplemental jurisdiction over his state law misappropriation of likeness claims.

Alholm alleged that the firm surveyed employees in both its Chicago and Nashville offices, recorded conference calls and employees’ individual calls, and made unethical management and financial decisions.

The lawsuit also raised fraud claims against the firm regarding alleged misrepresentations the firm made while hiring him.

On the issue of the statute of limitations, Rowland accepted Alholm’s claim that the limitations period began to run when he learned of the firm’s alleged wiretapping in January 2020, not in March 2019, when the firm’s IT consultant informed him that the firm recorded phone calls in its Chicago office.

Although claimed he thought the recording discussed in March 2019 was an innocent mistake that had been remedied, Rowland said. That was enough in the motion to dismiss the stage to establish the later date as the beginning of the limitation period, he said.

The law firm “is free to raise the timeliness argument again at a later date,” the judge said.

Rowland dismissed Alholm’s claims of fraud regarding the three statements made by the firm during the hiring process as inadequately pleaded.

Alholm failed to allege the firm knew that one of the statements was false, and didn’t provide an adequate factual basis regarding a second statement, he said.

The third was a statement about future conduct or intent, and therefore not actionable as fraud, he said.

Spragens Law PLC and Kotchen & Low LLP represent Alholm. Sweeney, Scharkey & Blanchard LLC represents Vrydolyak Law Group.

The case is Alholm v. Vrdolyak Law Group LLC, ND Ill., No. 1:22-cv-01820, 1/17/23.

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