NEW ORLEANS (CN) – A woman claims in court that she is beleaguered at home by “infuriated” people who believe she stole their cellphones, because Sprint Communications equipped the phones with an errant tracking device that directs people to her house.
Diana Pierre-Louis sued Sprint in Orleans Parish Court.
“On March 15,  Pierre-Louis says, she “began receiving in-person allegations from numerous individuals claiming that plaintiff had stolen their cellular phones and other mobile devices, and requesting them back.”
“Plaintiff was informed by these numerous persons that a tracking device on their Sprint mobile device directed them to her residence … in New Orleans, Louisiana.
“On information and belief, defendant, Sprint, equipped the aforementioned mobile devices with a tracking device that erroneously led individuals to believe their lost or stolen mobile devices were either in plaintiff’s possession or located somewhere at her residence.
“These false and erroneous directions were made to the general public constituting an invasion of privacy that has caused harm to plaintiff’s personal and professional reputation.
“Needless to say, when plaintiff was confronted by the individuals who were led to believe she possessed their lost or stolen mobile device, they were infuriated as they demanded return of their property.”
The 4-page complaint states only that the incidents began on or about March 15. Evidently, it was March 15, 2011, as a local news station reported the problem in April 2011 (see below).
In her complaint, Pierre-Louis says she lives with her parents, who do not speak English, and who “at times, were confronted by the aforementioned infuriated individuals.”
“Upon confrontation, plaintiff’s parents were unable to appropriately respond to the situation as they could not effectively communicate to the individuals that their mobile devices were not at the plaintiff’s residence.
“Upon information and belief, each individual that confronted plaintiff and her parents were later informed that they were directed to plaintiff’s residence in error.”
Pierre-Louis’s attorney, Michal Harris, with the Law Offices of Pius A. Obioha & Associates in New Orleans, declined to comment on the lawsuit but directed Courthouse News to an April 2011 news story WDSU ran about the incidents.
According to WDSU.com, Pierre-Louis called the ordeal “humiliating” and said, “It’s an attack on our dignity, because you see my father, you see me, and you think I have your phone at my house.”
Although neither the complaint nor the WDSU story state how many people came to Pierre-Louis’s house looking for their cellphones, WDSU reported that as many as four people showed up at her door in a month.
A police officer even came by looking for his phone.
“Every weekend, they constantly come,” Pierre-Louis told WDSU.
Aside from the disruption of having strangers constantly dropping by, Pierre-Louis told WDSU she was worried the situation could become violent.
“My father is even more frustrated because when they come, he doesn’t necessarily know what they’re talking about,” she told WDSU. “But he can see the anger from the people when they say they are here to get their phones.”
For the story, WDSU contacted Sprint to notify it of Pierre-Louis’s complaints.
“A spokesman for the company was stunned when WDSU told him about the problem and said he would look into the matter, but WDSU has not heard back from him,” the station reported.
Pierre-Louis seeks damages for harassment, invasion of privacy, damage to her professional reputation and loss of pursuit of happiness.