What is a famous tort case of involving intrusion?

The paparazzi are susceptible to tort claims of intrusion if they harass and stalk the celebrities they are seeking to photograph. A famous case of intrusion involved paparazzo Ron Galella, who relentlessly pursued former First Lady Jacqueline Onassis (Kennedy) and her children. He followed son John Jr. on his bicycle and interrupted daughter Caroline while she played tennis. Once, he got very close to a boat carrying Jackie O. in another boat to snap pictures. A federal court (Galella v. Onassis, 487 F.2d 986 [2d. Cir. 1974]) issued an injunction, ordering Galella from staying a certain distance away from Jackie O. and her children.

A reviewing federal appeals court upheld the order and finding of an invasion of privacy. "When weighed against the de minimis public importance of the daily activities of the defendant, Galella's constant surveillance, his obtrusive and intruding presence, was unwarranted and unreasonable," the court wrote. "If there were any doubt in our minds, Galella's inexcusable conduct toward defendant's minor children would resolve it."

What if the press reports on the sex life of a famous politician? Is that invasion of privacy?

A court might well find that such information is newsworthy, as opposed to the privacy sub-tort of public disclosure of private facts. The privacy claim of public disclosure of private facts does not apply to information that would be of legitimate concern to the public. The pressing question in public disclosure of private-facts cases is whether the information is newsworthy or of legitimate concern to the public.

Newsworthiness is evaluated by an examination of several factors, including the social value of the disclosed material, the depth of intrusion into personal life, and the extent to which the person is already in public view. Even Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren in their famous law review article (mentioned on p. 343) wrote in 1890: "The right to privacy does not prohibit any publication of matter which is of public or general interest."

What is an example of false light invasion of privacy?

An example of false light invasion of privacy would encompass conduct by a news agency that uses stock footage of a photo of a person to accompany a news story that the person is not connected to in any fashion. For example, let's say that a news station runs a segment on the problems of street prostitution. In the opening segment, the station runs a segment of a woman walking down the street in a short skirt. However, the woman is not a prostitute at all. That may present a case for false light invasion of privacy.

LegalSpeak: Rejecting False Light: Cain v. Hearst Corp. (Tex. 1994)

We reject the false light invasion of privacy tort for two reasons: 1) it largely duplicates other rights of recovery, particularly defamation; and 2) it lacks many of the procedural limitations that accompany actions for defamation, thus unacceptably increasing the tension that already exists between free speech constitutional guarantees and tort law..

If we were to recognize a false light tort in Texas, it would largely duplicate several existing causes of action, particularly defamation. As we observed . some of the right of privacy interests have been afforded protection under such traditional theories as libel and slander, wrongful search and seizure, eavesdropping and wiretapping, and other similar invasions into the private business and personal affairs of an individual. Recovery for defamation requires the communication of a false statement..

Furthermore, the elements of damages that have been recognized in false light actions are similar to those awarded for defamation.. The false light cases considered by Texas courts of appeals, were all brought, or could have been brought, under another legal theory.

Do all states recognize the different sub-torts of invasion of privacy?

No, a few states do not recognize the tort of false-light invasion of privacy, believing that it is too similar to the tort of defamation. For example, the Texas Supreme Court wrote in 1994: "False light remains the least-recognized and most controversial aspect of invasion of privacy." Consult with an attorney to determine whether a false light invasion of privacy claim exists in your state.

What is the tort of nuisance?

Nuisance is a tort that protects a person's right to enjoyment of his or land from substantial interference. Often nuisances involve conduct that occurs near a plaintiff's land but does not involve an actual physical trespass. Let's say a person constantly hears a barrage of loud music from his neighbor. The neighbor may have committed the tort of nuisance if the music is loud enough that it unreasonably interferes with the neighbor's enjoyment of his property.

Nuisances are divided into public nuisances and private nuisances. A public nuisance involves harm to the public at large. A house of prostitution or a crack house (used as a place for the sale of illegal drugs) may constitute public nuisances.

The city of Chicago and Cook County, Illinois, filed a nuisance action against several gun manufacturers, distributors, and dealers, contending that their production, distribution, and sale of handguns in a community harmed by gun violence created a public nuisance. However, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected the claim, finding that the handgun violence was caused by the superseding, intervening causes of third parties (actual criminals) rather than the companies associated with the creation, sale, and distribution of guns.

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