All parties must consent to the recording or the disclosure of the contents of any wire, oral or electronic communication in Florida. Recording, disclosing, or endeavoring to disclose without the consent of all parties is a felony, unless the interception is a first offense committed without any illegal purpose, and not for commercial gain. Fla. Stat. ch. 934.03. These first offenses and the interception of cellular frequencies are misdemeanors. State v. News-Press Pub. Co., 338 So. 2d 1313 (1976).
Under the statute, consent is not required for the taping of a non-electronic communication uttered by a person who does not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in that communication.
See definition of “oral communication,” Fla. Stat. ch. 934.02. See also Stevenson v. State, 667 So.2d 410 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1996); Paredes v. State, 760 So.2d 167 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2000).
In Cohen Brothers, LLC v. ME Corp., S.A., 872 So.2d 321 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2004), the District Court of Appeal for the Third District of Florida held that members of a limited liability company’s (LLC) management committee did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy with respect to participation in telephone conference calls with other committee members to discuss continued financing of the LLC, and thus could not hold the committee members liable for recording the conference calls.
A federal appellate court has held that because only interceptions made through an “electronic, mechanical or other device” are illegal under Florida law, telephones used in the ordinary course of business to record conversations do not violate the law. The court found that business telephones are not the type of devices addressed in the law and, thus, that a life insurance company did not violate the law when it routinely recorded business-related calls on its business extensions. Royal Health Care Servs., Inc. v. Jefferson-Pilot Life Ins. Co., 924 F.2d 215 (11th Cir. 1991).
Anyone whose communications have been illegally intercepted may recover actual damages or $100 for each day of violation or $1,000, whichever is greater, along with punitive damages, attorney fees and litigation costs. Fla. Stat. ch. 934.10.