OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha man has filed a lawsuit accusing his
ex-wife and former father-in-law of hiding a recording device
inside his daughter's teddy bear in order to spy on him.
The lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Omaha
claims Dianna Divingnzzo and her father, Sam Divingnzzo, tried to
use the audio recorded by the toy in the divorced couple's custody
Dianna Divingnzzo had been awarded sole custody of the young
girl when the couple divorced in May 2004, but William Duane Lewton
was seeking custody rights.
The lawsuit says Lewton learned about the audio recordings when
his attorney was given copies by Divingnzzo's then-attorney in
advance of a June hearing.
Lewton's attorney, John Kinney, said Tuesday that it's believed
the teddy bear recorded several hundred hours of conversations from
just before Christmas 2007 through mid-May.
Lewton, his daughter - who is now 5 - and five other plaintiffs
who were recorded by the bear are requesting a jury trial. They
seek $20,000 each, plus other damages and court costs, from each
defendant for invasion of privacy and violation of state and
federal wiretapping laws.
In addition to the Divingnzzos, the lawsuit names Dianna
Divingnzzo's former attorney, William Bianco; his law partner,
Chris Perrone; and their Omaha law firm.
Perrone said Tuesday that the firm no longer represents Dianna
Divingnzzo. He also said he and Bianco did not know about the
recordings until Divingnzzo presented them.
"We had nothing to do with it," he said. "We did not advise
her to do so."
But according to the lawsuit, Bianco consulted with Perrone
about the legality of the recordings and determined they would be
admissible in court.
During a June 3 hearing in the custody case in which the
recordings were discussed, Judge David K. Arterburn ruled that they
violated Nebraska's wiretapping law and couldn't be used as
No telephone number was listed for Dianna Divingnzzo. A message
left at a number for Sam Divingnzzo of Papillion was not returned.