Konop v. Hawaiian Airlines, Inc., 302 F.3d 868 (9th Cir. 2002)

Robert Konop, a pilot for Hawaiian Airlines, created and maintained a website on which he posted bulletins critical of the airline and the incumbent union, the Air Line Pilots Association. Konop controlled access to his website by requiring visitors to log in with a user name and password, and the website expressly prohibited any member of Hawaiian’s management from viewing the website. One of Hawaiian’s vice presidents, James Davis, asked a pilot for permission to use the pilot’s name to access and then did access Konop’s website. Konop filed suit against Hawaiian under the federal Wiretap Act, the Stored Communications Act (SCA), the Railway Labor Act (RLA) and state tort law, arising from Davis’s unauthorized viewing and use of the secure website. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Hawaiian, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judgment as to the claims for violation of the SCA and the RLA arising from interference with organizing activities, wrongful support of a union faction and coercion and intimidation.