This is a lot of inadmissible evidence with a couple of exceptions:
[The Robbins family] lived in a $986,000 house on the Main Line. [Mr. Robbins], until recently, had earned well more than $100,000 per year. Yet he and his wife were in hock to creditors, ranging from Uncle Sam to their former synagogue - and had regularly been stiffing Peco Energy for five years, breaking payment plan after payment plan.
They repeatedly appealed "unpaid electric and gas bills that by last year were closing in on $30,000" to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission. It was the second largest unpaid utility bill in Peco history. They paid off half of it just last week.
In addition to the Peco debt, the PUC noted, the Robbinses had been hit with numerous civil judgments in recent years totaling more than $365,000.
They're into the IRS for $62,692. Even their current lawyer has had to sue them for payment in the past.
[I]t was the apparent failure to pay a fee - a $55 insurance payment to permit the Robbinses' son Blake to take his laptop home from Harriton High School - that might have prompted the district to activate the Web cam.
Ah. That doesn't change the legal issues surrounding (a) not notifying parents and students of the monitoring or (b) whether Harriton High officials used the picture taken for disciplinary purposes outside of the authorized removal of the laptop. But, if true, it could dispose of the accusation that the camera was turned on simply to monitor student behavior.
So, they're spendthrifts with a sense of entitlement seeking to hit a jackpot suing their son's high school, right? Maybe, maybe not. Mr. Robbins' is also suing his former employer for unpaid commissions - he was a salesman - of $5 million. It's possible that the claim is bogus and just of a piece with the rest. It's also possible that the employer really did screw him and the family's distressed state is the result of that, and it has nothing to do with the lawsuit against Lower Merion School District. The problem with the second version is that they racked up their debts well before Mr. Robbins lost his old job.
If there is no objective evidence that the school officials were using the picture for disciplinary purposes and it comes down to the family's testimony versus the vice principal's, then I think the existence of the debts could be used to impeach the Robbinses' credibility. However, the core of the case is that the monitoring program existed and was used without notification. None of these revelations affects that issue, as far as I can tell.