Narconon Harassing Its Neighbors: Legal threats against Dr. Linda Orozco, a neighbor who has complained about Narconon's ongoing zoning violations and nuisance behavior:
August 24, 2004 (pdf, text)
Law Offices of DANIEL C. CARLT0N 2600 Michelson Drive, Suite 1120 Irvine, California 92612
Telephone (949) 767-0707 Facsimile (949) 752-2141
August 24, 2004
LINDA OROZCO 1805 West Balboa Boulevard, Unit B Newport Beach, California 92663
Re: Our Client: Narconon Southern California 1810 West Ocean Front, Newport Beach
Dear Ms. Orozco:
This office represents Narconon Southern California ("Narconon")
Both state and federal laws protect the identity of any patient being treated at a drug and/or alcohol treatment center such as Narconon which is licensed by the State of California. California Health and Safety Code section 11977, which mirror sections 290dd-3 and 290ee-3 of Title 42 of the United States Code expressly provides that not only the records but the identity of a patient is confidential. In fact, the confidentiality of such information is so comprehensive and scrupulous, the federal law prohibits even an acknowledgement of the presence of an identified patient at such a facility without the written consent of the patient. 42 CFR 2.13(c).
These confidentiality laws serve an important public interest. Congress has expressly stated that the purpose of these laws is to encourage patients to seek treatment for their substance abuse problems without fear that their privacy would be compromised by doing so. This rewards rather than punishes those who seek to fix their problems rather than continue non-productive lives of addiction and despair.
Despite such strict confidential provisions of state and federal laws, you repeatedly video taped Narconon's facility and its clients (patients). The video tapes readily enables Narconon's clients to be identified. Moreover, on several occasions you have distributed the video tapes to the City of Newport Beach where they became public records.
Linda Orozco August 24, 2004 Page 2
Your video recording of such confidential information also violates California Penal Code section 632 which provides for a fine or imprisonment up to one year for invasion of privacy. Similarly, the federal laws also provide for criminal penalty and that any violation of the confidentiality provisions relating to the identity of drug and alcohol treatment patients may be directed to the United States Attorney.
As you can see, your conduct is extremely serious and carries severe consequences. We encourage you to obtain your own counsel to assess for yourself the seriousness of your reckless conduct.
DEMAND IS HEREBY MADE that you immediately cease and desist from making any further video tape recordings of Narconon's facility that in any way reveal the identity of any of its clients (patients).
We have prepared a complaint against you (a copy of which is enclosed) for filing with the Orange County Superior Court. We will have no choice but to file it and seek injunctive remedies unless you provide a written unconditional promise not to ever video tape Narconon and to also turn over the original and all copies of video tapes you made of Narconon directly to the Law Offices of Daniel C. Carlton, located at 2600 Michelson Drive, Suite 1120, Irvine, California 92612.
Unless you comply by Friday, September, 3, 2004, by 5:00 p.m., we will assume that you are not interested in resolving this matter and we will proceed with the filing of the lawsuit.
Your anticipated prompt attention and cooperation is appreciated.
Respectfully, Daniel C. Carlton
DCC:td cc:Narconon Southern California
Daniel C. Carlton, esq., SBN 74223 LAW OFFICES OF DANIEL C. CARLT0N 2600 Michelson Drive, Suite 1120 Irvine, California 92612 Telephone (949) 767-0707 Facsimile (949) 752-2141
Attorney for Plaintiff
SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF ORANGE
NARCONON ) Case No. UNASSIGNED SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, ) a California Non Profit ) corporation, ) ) COMPLAINT FOR Plaintiff, ) TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ) ORDER; PRELIMINARY AND vs. ) PERMANENT INJUNCTION ) LINDA OROZCO, ) (Invasion of Privacy) an individual; and DOES ) 1 through 100, ) Defendants. ) ________________________ )
COMES NOW Plaintiff NARCONON SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ("Plaintiff") and for causes of action against defendants LINDA OROZCO ("Orozco"), and DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, and each of them, allege:
1. Plaintiff is, and at all times relevant herein was, a California non-profit corporation duly licensed by the State of California Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse to operate a residential alcohol and drug abuse recovery treatment center in Newport Beach, California.
2. Plaintiff alleges on information and belief that defendant Orozco is, and at all times relevant herein was, an individual residing in Newport Beach, California.
3. The true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate, associate or otherwise of DOES 1 through 100, inclusive, are unknown to Plaintiff. Plaintiff therefore sues such defendants by such fictitious names and will amend this complaint to insert their true names and capacities when ascertained. Plaintiff alleges on information and belief that each such fictitiously named defendant is in some manner, means or degree, connected with the matters alleged and is liable to Plaintiff thereon.
4. Plaintiff alleges on information and belief that at all times mentioned herein, each defendant was the authorized agent and joint venture of each remaining defendant and, in doing the acts complained of, was acting within the course and scope of such agency, or at the specific instance, request, direction or with the approval of the remaining defendants, and each of them, and the acts of each defendant complained of herein were ratified by each remaining defendant.
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
(Invasion of Privacy)
5. Plaintiff realleges and incorporates by reference paragraphs 1 through 4, inclusive.
6. Between approximately February 2004 through May 2004, Orozco repeatedly video taped Plaintiff's facility and the patients being treated at the facility at the time. In the video tapes, Orozco describes Plaintiff's facility as a drug treatment center and the clients (patients) therein as drug abusers and alcoholics. The video tapes reveal the identity of the clients (patients) being treated at Plaintiff's facility. Orozco subsequently distributed video tapes and other written correspondence to the Newport Beach City Planning Commission where the video tapes and correspondence became a part of its public records.
7. The identity of Plaintiff's clients is confidential information protected by California Health and Safety Code section 11977 as well as 42 U.S.C. sections 290dd-2, 290ee-3, and the federal regulations promulgated thereunder, 42 CFR 2. These confidentiality laws serve an important public interest. Congress has expressly stated that the purpose of these laws is to encourage patients to seek treatment for their substance abuse problems without fear that their privacy would be compromised by doing so. This rewards rather than punishes those who seek to fix their problems rather than continue non-productive lives of addiction and despair.
8. The identity of Plaintiff's clients (patients), which is confidential, was willfully, deliberately, maliciously, and intentionally recorded by Orozco by means of an electronic device in violation of Section 632(a) of the Penal Code.
9. At no time did Orozco, or any other person, inform Plaintiff of the recording or identity of Plaintiff's clients (patients) which is confidential under the laws of California and the United States.
10. Injunctive relief is an appropriate remedy expressly authorized by Section 637.1(b) of the Penal Code in order to obtain and preserve the right of privacy as guaranteed by the laws of California and the United States.
11. Unless Orozco is restrained by order of this Court, there would be no adequate remedy at law since pecuniary compensation would not afford adequate relief for the irretrievable loss of privacy for the clients (patients) of Plaintiff.
12. Unless Orozco is restrained by order of this court, it will be necessary for Plaintiff or its clients (patients) to commence many successive actions against her to secure compensation for damages sustained, thus requiring a multiplicity of judicial proceedings, and Plaintiff's present and future clients (patients) will be arbitrarily threatened with the continuing invasion of their privacy by having their confidential information wrongfully recorded by means of electronic device and publicly disseminated.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays judgment against defendant as follows:
1. For a temporary restraining order, a preliminary and a permanent injunction enjoining Orozco from recording Plaintiff's clients (patients) and revealing their identity;
2. For costs of suit herein incurred, and;
3. For such other and further relief as the Court may deem proper.
Dated: September ___, 2004
LAW OFFICES OF DANIEL C. CARLTON
By:_______________________________ Daniel C. Carlton Attorney for Plaintiff NARCONON Southern California