In a scene that could have come out of one of the horror movies she worked on, a producer of the "Scream" franchise has filed a lawsuit against her former boyfriend, whom she accuses of spying on and impersonating her through computer hacks and installing a tracking device on her car.
Marianne Maddalena, a longtime collaborator of Wes Craven, wrote in the lawsuit filed in California federal court that her ex, contractor Derrick John Toole, broke into her production offices in 2009, where he logged onto her work computers and installed spyware to intercept emails and texts and collect reports of all her keystrokes and passwords. Maddalena added that he began following her every move after conducting public records searches and installing a GPS tracking device on her car.
Toole also used Maddalena's personal information to impersonate her, the lawsuit states, sending emails to people she knew with damaging messages -- which is how he was caught. In 2011, Maddalena said she received a reply to an email she didn't send, prompting her to hire someone to investigate, and the spyware was discovered. When the FBI searched Toole's home, they found a plastic tub filled with Maddalena's personal information that indicated "a massive spying and espionage operation ... amputating [Maddalena]'s personal and work life piece by piece over a period of years."
The lawsuit states that "Maddalena thought she was losing her mind as family, friends, and co-workers seemed to back off and drop out of her life," adding that the incident caused "not only great emotional distress and paranoid feelings born out of mistrust, but also the sense that [Maddalena] is being watched -- always being watched."
In November, Toole pleaded guilty in criminal court to illegal wiretapping and computer access and fraud, and is on probation. Maddalena is suing Toole for violations of her electronic privacy, computer fraud, wiretapping, public disclosure of private facts, infliction of emotional distress, trespass, defamation, and a host of other charges. She is seeking compensation and the recovery of punitive damages.
"When our privacy is taken, when our character is sullied by someone acting to be ourselves and when our lives are stolen from us through an internet based hijacking, the core of our very existence is stabbed at its epicenter, and the recovery can take much longer than any serious physical injury," the lawsuit states.