Invasion of Privacy Torts and Defamation

Invasion of Privacy Torts and Defamation

by / Thursday, 13 February 2014 / Published in Goodwin & Scieszka, Personal Injury

Appropriation: This is when the defendant (person you’re suing) has used your likeness and profited from it. It’s like taking your photo and using it in a commercial without your consent.

Intrusion: This is a highly offensive invasion of your physical seclusion, and it requires a reasonable expectation of privacy. Wiretapping is a prime example.

golden scale next to a gavel in front of bookshelves

False light: This is a widespread dissemination of a falsehood that’s offensive to the average person. An example would be running around town saying that you’re a very spiritual person when you’re in fact an agnostic.

Disclosure: This is the widespread dissemination of confidential information that’s highly offensive to the average person. A good example would be your medical records being leaking to everyone in your office because your secretary screwed up an email blast.

Now the granddaddy of dissemination and offensive torts: defamation.


1. A defamatory statement that adversely affects someone’s reputation

2. The statement must be published (spoken) to someone other than the plaintiff (person bringing the cause of action) either intentionally or negligently.

3. Damages – you have to prove some form of harm, and depending on the defamatory statement, then often times damages are presumed:

        a. Statements in writing
        b. Statements about the plaintiff’s profession/business
        c. Statements that the defendant committed a serious crime
        d. Statements imputing the unchastity of a woman
             e. Or statements that the plaintiff suffers from some loathsome disease

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