The Law of Recording Conversations: Donald Sterling Issue Raises an Issue

The recent scandal involving Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling continues to dominate the media. The NBA acted swiftly in assessing a severe penalty, and banning Sterling from any league activity. Among the many legal issues to rise out of this mess includes the legality of the recordings of the incriminating conversations.

When we handle in Oregon personal injury or workers’ compensation claim, it is not uncommon for a client to provide a taped statement to an investigator, or an insurance adjuster. Many times, we recommend against giving a statement.  In Oregon Workers’ compensation cases, the statute requires that a Claimant be made available for statement. In a personal injury claim, statements are typically voluntary. Regardless of our agreement, or the legal requirements involved, the investigator or adjuster will typically confirm that the recorded statement is voluntary, and with our knowledge and permission.

So what is the law on recording a conversation in Oregon?  Generally, a person in Oregon can record a telephone conversation of at least one party to the conversation gives consent. Whether or not this law applies when the other party to the conversation is outside the State of Oregon may be an issue. In California, however, it looks like both parties must consent to the recording of a “private conversation.”

When dealing with an insurance adjuster, you have to assume that your conversation is being recorded. If you have questions about what you should say, or not say, call us at 503-325-8600. We can share our experience, and help you move forward with your claim.

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