Last updated on May 19, 2023
Some people seem to think that they can post anything they want online about other people with no repercussions. Even celebrities can take action against outrageous invasions of their privacy, but for ordinary people, it is easier to show a violation of your rights.
If someone publicly disclosed a private fact about you, a California personal injury attorney could help you seek justice when your privacy is invaded. We offer a free initial consultation so that you can find out if you might have grounds to take legal action.
What Is a Public Disclosure of a Private Fact?
You will need to prove all five of these factors to win an invasion of privacy claim:
- The item, whether a photograph, information, or statement, was disclosed publicly.
- The disclosure was about facts of a private nature.
- The average reasonable person would find the disclosure to be offensive.
- There was no legitimate public benefit to justify the disclosure.
- The defendant showed a reckless disregard for the publication of the information that would harm or embarrass the victim.
Please note that, while slander or libel requires a finding that the statement was untrue, public disclosure of a private fact does not have any such requirement. The statement could be entirely true but something that the ordinary individual would not want to become public knowledge.
What Is a Private Fact?
For purposes of an invasion of privacy claim, a private fact is one that could be characterized as malicious gossip. Here are a few examples of things that can be private facts:
- Revealing publicly that someone else has a highly personal medical condition that they had kept private.
- Publishing information that someone had filed for bankruptcy in the past.
- Posting the bank statements of a private individual on social media.
- Sharing photos of another person unclothed, without their consent to this use of the photos.
- Posting recordings online of private conversations of other people without their consent.
In other words, when people reveal details of other people’s lives that are not common knowledge and the disclosure would cause shame or embarrassment, the victim could have a claim of invasion of privacy. If it is no one else’s business, and the revealing party did not have a right or an excuse to share the information publicly, then the person whose privacy got invaded could seek justice.
Also, intentionally making false statements to try to damage someone’s reputation or career can be actionable as defamatory, by way of example:
- Spreading false rumors that a member of the administration of a K through 12 school is under investigation for child pornography.
- False statements that a local investment advisor got convicted of embezzlement.
- Publicly spreading lies about a company for the purpose of causing economic harm.
What are the possible consequences of invasion of privacy?
Invasion of privacy lawsuits go after money damages for the emotional harm, embarrassment, shame, and damage to the reputation of the individual or business in the community. Unfortunately, the statements cannot be “unsaid” or the images “unseen” or removed from every possible location online, but compensation can help you achieve a measure of justice for the harm you suffered.
You can talk to a California personal injury attorney today to get started. Contact our office today for help with your case.