McDonough v. Fernandez-Rundle and the Eleventh Circuit’s Approach to Surreptitiously Recorded Meetings With Public Officials

The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in McDonough v. Fernandez-Rundle[1] has immediate and profound implications for public sector officials. On February 7, 2014, a local citizen, James McDonough, met with Homestead Police Department (“HPD”) Police Chief, Alexander Rolle, to discuss complaints he had regarding a HPD officer. Unknown to Chief Rolle, Mr. McDonough used his cell phone to secretly record the conversation, which he subsequently distributed through the Internet. McDonough did not provide advance notice of his intent, and did not seek Chief Rolle’s permission to record the conversation.