What Is an Invasion of Privacy Claim?


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There are many versions of sharing someoneís private details by accident that are not considered an invasion of privacy. However, when the divulging of these specifics is accomplished in certain ways, a claim may be possible for the damage this act causes.

When someone leaves his or her personal information in the form of a letter or document out in public or someone else does this, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, and this cannot be construed as an invasion of privacy claim. One manner in which this type of claim may be issued is if a private conversation inside the home is being recorded by someone other than the two talking through some fashion of surveillance equipment. This would also need to cause some sort of injury either to the person or his or her reputation. With these stipulations, privacy has been violated and the perpetrator may be liable for damages.

An invasion of privacy is usually only possible when there is some form of reasonable expectation that the person targeted is left alone or in a private setting when the invasion occurs. There are four different kinds of invasion claims possible depending on the circumstances. One is an intrusion of solitude which involves an incident where the victimís intrusion is considered offensive. Appropriation of name or likeness is when someoneís identity is used usually for monetary benefit without permission. Public disclosure of private facts occurs when the perpetrator reveals secrets of his or her target that are not of public concern. False light is the misrepresentation of a person or casting him or her in a bad light through false information.

Claims for Intrusion of Solitude

When the solitude of someone has been interrupted in some manner such as physically or through the use of video recorders and has been considered highly offensive to a rational or reasonable person, this is considered an intrusion of solitude. These acts are often committed by those that have the need to watch or observe others in private moments, these perpetrators have been considered that that peep inside windows or around the private residences of individuals. Acts of illegally intercepting or listening in on private calls, going through the private records of someone and similar behavior are all attributed to this type of invasion of privacy.

Instances where a long-range camera is used to record images when someone is within his or her private home counts as this invasion. Perpetual harassment with habitual calls to the person may require legal action to stop. The very act of intruding upon the solitude of this target is grounds for a claim of invasion of privacy against the initiator. Some examples would be when someone has been climbing the trees outside the home to take photographs of the person when he or she is at home or in a private location. There is no need to disclose any details or facts about the target involved for a crime to take place.

Instances of Appropriation of Name or Likeness

There are many who have taken an individualís name or likeness in face or body for monetary or other means of benefit. This is more often observed when a company has used the name of a celebrity or his or her likeness in some type of advertisement without asking permission to do so from the individual. While many states restrict the use of this tort for only commercial use, there are some states that permit private citizens to submit claims when this occurs. There are some occurrences where someone impersonates another individual to obtain confidential or personal identifiable information. This is when the targetís privacy has been invaded. Because the individualís name and likeness are treated as his or her property, there are similar case details that apply to these claims.

Disclosure of Private Facts to the Public

Because of specifics involved, the First Amendmentís protection granted for freedom of speech is weighed against these instances of discloser of private facts of an individual to the public. There is no defense for these acts as opposed to defamation crimes. There is possible legal action that may be issued when someone reveals truthful details about another that has no public concern. This act must be considered offensive to a reasonable person if the details are disclosed. This could be through a public display of a private moment where the event was agreed to be recorded for a private audience.

The False Light Incidents

When someoneís public disclosure of information is misleading and may shine a false light on the individual, this crime has been committed. This means there was some form of publication, it was reckless and it painted the victim negatively in a manner that is considered offensive or embarrassing. When any of these invasion of privacy crimes have occurred, it is important to contact a lawyer for assistance with litigation and resolving the matter.


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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.

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