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August 31 - Newsblog #1
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner and Wife Sue over Police Shooting
September 7 - Newsblog #2
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Homeowner’s Possession of Handgun Legal Under 2nd Amendment
September 14 - Newsblog #3
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: if a Government or Government Agency is at Fault, You Can Sue
September 21 - Newsblog #4
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Lawsuit Against Police Department Invokes the Civil Rights Act
September 28 - Newsblog #5
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: a Clear Line from the Action – or Inaction – to the Injury
October 12 - Newsblog #6
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Insensitivity Turns Traffic Stop into a Travesty
October 19 - Newsblog #7
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Police Who Abuse Power Must Be Held Accountable, Law Professor States
October 26 - Newsblog #8
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Holding Overly Aggressive Police Accountable
November 2 - Newsblog #9
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Brown Vs. Impd Case About Much More Than Punishment or Money
November 9 - Newsblog #10
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Improper Medical Diagnosis and Care Resulted in Loss of an Eye
November 16 - Newsblog #11
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Medical Malpractice Claims Have a Front End and a Back End
November 30 - Newsblog #12
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Truths About Medical Malpractice
December 7 - Newsblog #13
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Yes, You Can Sue City Hall
December 14 - Newsblog #14
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Slip and Fall Changes Two Lives Forever
December 28 - Newsblog #15
In the News: Ramey & Hailey Year in Review
January 4 - Newsblog #16
In the News: Teen’s Sexual Abuse Case Calls Attention to the Problem
January 11 - Newsblog #17
In the News: Parents of Survivor Sue Parents of Shooter
January 18 - Newsblog #18
In the News: Erin Brockovich Teams Up with Indiana Moms
January 25 - Newsblog #19
Your Injury Attorneys in the News: Case Settled in Favor of Catastrophic Slip and Fall Injury Victim
January 31 - Newsblog #20
In the News: Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed Against Rehab Facility
February 8 - Newsblog #21
In the News: Nurse Arrested in Sexual Abuse Case
February 15 - Newsblog #22
In the News: Running the Clock on Indiana Medical Malpractice
February 22 - Newsblog #23
In the News: to Repeal or Not to Repeal – Indiana Legislators Rule “not”
March 1 - Newsblog #24
In the News: Helping Physicians Keep Helping
March 8 - Newsblog #25
In the News: Parents of Brain-damaged Infant Sue Hospital
March 15 - Newsblog #26
In the News: Owner of Gun Wins Decision
March 22 - Newsblog #27
In the News: Indiana House Passes Long Term Care Protections Bill
April 5 - Newsblog #28
In the News: Slip-and-fall Victim Wins Right to Sue Dollar Tree
April 12 - Newsblog #29
In the News: Inspection Report Shows Vets Harmed at 52 Nursing Homes
April 19 - Newsblog #30
In the News: Sandwich Diversion Causes Fatal Two-semitrailer Crash
April 26 - Newsblog #31
In the News: Does Premises Liability Cover Goose Attacks?
May 10 - Newsblog #32
Two-week-old N.y. Verdict Offers Takeaways for Slip and Fall Victims
May 17 - Newsblog #33
In the News: Barrel Blast Triggers Wrongful Death Lawsuit
May 24 - Newsblog #34
In the News: when a Product Manufacturer is Not at Fault
May 31 - Newsblog #35
In the News – College Doc’s Sexual Abuse of Students Coming to Light
June 7 - Newsblog #36
In the News – One Week, Four Motorcycle Accidents
June 14 - Newsblog #37
List of Troubled Nursing Homes Released
June 21 - Newsblog #38
In the News: Kansas No-caps Ruling Changes Personal Injury Climate
June 28 - Newsblog #39
In the News: Jury Awards $10.5 Million for Pain and Suffering in Birth Injury Case
July 5 - Newsblog #40
In the News: More Indicted in Last Year’s Duck Boat Tragedy
July 17 - Newsblog #41
In the News: Richard Hailey on Litigation Team for Lawsuit Vs. Tesla
July 24 - Newsblog #42
In the News: Malpractice Lawsuit Yields Largest Award in History
August 28 - Newsblog #43
In the News: Trucks V. Passenger Cars – Score 18:116. Everybody Loses
December 4 - Newsblog #44
In the News: High School Chaplain Suspended on Allegations of Sexual Abuse
December 11 - Newsblog #45
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 11 - Newsblog #46
In the News: Franklin, Indiana Continues to Face Toxic Waste Problem
December 18 - Newsblog #47
In the News: Parents of Bus Accident Victim Awarded $20 Million
January 8 - Newsblog #48
In the News: Parents Sue After Daughter’s Brain Damaged in Surgery
January 10 - Newsblog #49
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
January 29 - Newsblog #50
In the News: Trucking Accidents Due to Careless Driving Increase
February 19 - Newsblog #51
Indiana Authorities Buy More Time to Prosecute Child Abusers
February 26 - Newsblog #52
In the News: Teen Brain-injured at Birth Awarded $15.1 Million
March 4 - Newsblog #53
In the News: Did Connecticut School Officials Turn a Deaf Ear to Sexual or Physical Abuse?
March 18 - Newsblog #54
In the News: Facility Held to Blame for Medical Treatment Delivered in a Careless and Negligent Manner
April 1 - Newsblog #55
In the News: Emergency Measures Instituted in Indiana’s Judicial System
April 8 - Newsblog #56
In the News: Medical Malpractice Limits Challenged in California
April 15 - Newsblog #57
In the News: Indiana Supreme Court Issues Five Orders for Legal Proceedings
May 13 - Newsblog #58
In the News: Physician Not Negligent in Choosing One Treatment over Another
May 20 - Newsblog #59
In the News: Nursing Homes with Covid-19 Cases Have Been Violating Federal Infection Control Rules for Years

Litigation Newsletter

Intrusion Upon Seclusion: Invasion of Privacy

A “tort” may generally be defined as an act deemed wrongful enough that one who suffers injury from it may bring a lawsuit to recover damages. Many torts have their origin in “common law,” which is the body of legal, historical principles and results from actual court cases, often historically developed in England and adopted by U.S. states.

Invasion of Privacy

Although many torts have been recognized for centuries under common law, some are of more recent vintage, created by statutes or by extension of common law principles. One such more recent tort is “invasion of privacy.” The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to be secure in their own persons, houses, papers, and effects. The tort of invasion of privacy did not appear, however until the end of the 19th Century.

The story goes that the wife of a prominent judge, Samuel Warren, was upset by a journalist who probed into conversations at a private party. When his wife complained about the journalist’s actions, Warren told her that there were no laws against snooping, but the problems and concept stayed with him and resulted in a famous law review article written by Warren and Louis Brandeis (of considerable Supreme Court Justice fame). The article advocated the right of privacy and discussed the harm resulting from invasion of this right. Georgia was the first state to recognize invasion of privacy as a tort in 1905.

Expansion of the Tort of Invasion of Privacy

By the end of the 20th Century, all but a few states recognized invasion of privacy as a legitimate tort and a basis for recovery of damages. Some states accomplished this by enacting statutes (California) and others through court decisions. In 1998, the Minnesota Supreme handed down a ruling in Lake v. Wal-Mart, recognizing invasion of privacy as a tort for the first time in Minnesota, based on an extension of common law principles.

In Lake, two women vacationed in Mexico and took their vacation photos to a Wal-Mart to be developed. When they returned to Wal-Mart, however, they were informed that some photos had not been printed because of “their nature.” In fact, one unprinted photo was of the friends taking a shower together. It turned out that the picture had, however, been printed for an employee, who proceeded to exhibit it extensively in their small Minnesota farm town. The friends later received inquiries about their sexual orientation

The women sued invasion of privacy and other claims, including a claim for “intrusion upon seclusion.” The trial court dismissed the invasion of privacy claims, as no such tort was recognized in Minnesota at that time. On appeal, the Minnesota Supreme Court reversed, recognizing three categories of invasion of privacy claims: intrusion on seclusion, misappropriation of name or likeness, and public disclosure of private and embarrassing facts. The Court stated that Minnesota was out of the mainstream regarding treatment of invasion of privacy and found that the right of privacy, the right to be left alone, is inherent in common law principles.

Invasion of Privacy – Intrusion Upon Seclusion

Legal authorities have defined invasion of privacy as encompassing four distinct claims; the claim the Minnesota Court declined to accept was “placing a person in a false light.” The existence and requirements for establishing a claim for intrusion on seclusion vary from state to state, but may include a showing:

  • Of intentional intrusion, physical or otherwise, at a secluded place or in the private affairs or concerns of another, without permission. This can include forcibly entering a home, hotel room, etc. where a person has secluded herself or himself; watching or monitoring, with or without mechanical aids, private or familial affairs (subject to some exceptions); or some other surreptitious form of investigation or examination of private concerns, such as banking records, personal mail, etc.
  • That the intrusion would have been “highly offensive” to an ordinary, reasonable person. Some courts have evaluated offensiveness based on factors such as the degree of the intrusion, the context and conduct, surrounding circumstances, the intruder’s motives, and the expectations of the person whose privacy was invaded. If the intrusion involves a public event or takes place in a public place, there may be no expectation of privacy. In the Minnesota case, the Court stated that “One’s naked body is a very private part of one’s person and generally known to others only by choice.”
  • That the interference with the victim’s privacy was substantial, but there is not necessarily a requirement that the information, etc. gained through the intrusion be published. This tort may thus be easier to prove than claims such as defamation.

Illegal Activities

While the media may assert a right to gather information related to newsworthy events, it is still not protected from eavesdropping or wiretapping. In fact, some states have specifically enacted laws that make such private eavesdropping and wiretapping illegal.

Damages

Recoverable damages for intrusion may include emotional distress, injury to reputation, as well as punitive damages, where the conduct is particularly egregious and found deserving of punishment to deter future, similar conduct. Where the defendant profits financially from the intrusion, such as from the sale of unauthorized photographs or audio recordings, the plaintiff may be able to recover the defendant’s profits attributable to the intrusion.

  • Tort Reform: Pain and Suffering Caps in Malpractice Actions
    High profile personal injury lawsuits have left many with the impression that juries systematically award multi-million dollar awards in order to punish wrongdoers. Although juries may, and frequently do decide to make such awards, most... Read more.
  • Respondeat Superior Liability and Internet Use
    Many employers, recognizing the business advantages inherent in its use, regularly provide their employees with access to the Internet. Increased employee access, however, has resulted in increased employer liability. Employee misuse of... Read more.
  • Parents of Injured Children and Recovery of Consortium Damages
    Although “loss of consortium” damages are traditionally associated with spousal relationships, modern cases have extended the right to recover them to parent-child relationships. Referred to as “filial consortium... Read more.
  • Structured Settlements
    There are numerous legal situations in which a person may receive a large sum of money through a court award or settlement. Often arising as compensation for personal injuries or other acts, most such payouts are reduced due to some or... Read more.
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