18 Feb 2017 04:51 PM EST
-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Howard Stern (Image Source: Bill Norton via Wikimedia Commons)
Howard Stern is certainly behind many things, good or bad, depending on your personal view of the shock jock.
This is a situation that he happened upon by chance, but it doesn't seem like his show did anything to stop it.
Judith Barrigas called the service center for the IRS in 2015 to talk to them about them applying the money she owed from the previous year to her tax refund. She was connected to an IRS agent, Jimmy Forsythe.
According to a complaint she filed in Massachusetts federal court, before she was connected to Forsythe, he had called in to Stern's radio show on another phone line. While he was on hold, he took her call and spent 45 minutes discussing her case with her.
"While on the phone with Agent Forsythe, Mrs. Barrigas suddenly began to receive a barrage of text messages and phone calls from unknown callers/individuals," the complaint explains. "The text messages were informing Mrs. Barrigas that her personal information and phone number was being aired live on The Stern Show."
It turns out that during Barrigas' 45-minute conversation with Forsythe, someone working with Stern realized she could be heard on the line and aired her discussion over satellite radio.
According to the claim, her phone call can still be accessed on the Internet. Forsythe has since been put on administrative leave. She claims there has been an "outrageous violation" of her privacy and that because of it, she now is having difficulty finding a job and is experiencing anxiety, loss of sleep, and irregular eating patterns.
She is suing the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act for unlawful disclosure of her tax return and is also claiming Stern and his show displayed negligence that resulted in an invasion of her privacy.
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