Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of Privacy: Verbal Disclosures

By on May 6, 2014 - Comments off

Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc. (2013) 214 Cal.App.4th 808, 154 Cal.Rptr.3d 275

A woman who suffered from bipolar disorder filed an action against her former employer and her supervisor for invasion of privacy, alleging that while she was absent from work due to side effects of her medication, the supervisor had informed coworkers of her condition. The plaintiff alleged that upon her return to work she was shunned by coworkers, and one had even asked her supervisor if she was likely to “go postal” while at work.

The defendants moved for summary judgment based upon decisions following Melvin v. Reid (1931) 112 Cal. App. 285, holding that the right of privacy can only be violated by writings or other permanent publications, and not by word of mouth.   The trial court granted summary judgment but the court of appeal reversed, holding that disclosure in a writing should not be required to maintain a cause of action for public disclosure of private facts: Read the rest »


Right To Privacy: Professional Sports Stadium Searches

By on July 2, 2009 - Comments off

Sheehan v. San Francisco 49ers, Ltd., (Supreme Court of California, March 2, 2009) 45 Cal.4th 992, 201 P.3d 472, 89 Cal.Rptr.3d 594, 09 Cal. Daily Op. Serv. 2525, 2009 Daily Journal D.A.R. 2977

Two long-time San Francisco 49er’s season ticket holders who were subjected to patdown searches before they were allowed to enter the stadium for an NFL game, filed suit against the team. The plaintiffs alleged that the 49ers had implemented the patdown policy pursuant to a policy the NFL promulgated by which stadium screeners are supposed to conduct physical searches by touching, patting or lightly rubbing all ticket holders entering every NFL stadium for each NFL game. Contending that the searches violated their state constitutional right to privacy, the plaintiffs sought a declaration that the searches were unconstitutional, as well as an injunction prohibiting any further such searches.

The 49ers demurred to the complaint, contending that it did not state a cause of action, and the trial court agreed, sustaining the demurrer without leave to amend. The court of appeal affirmed, concluding that the plaintiffs could not demonstrate that they had a reasonable expectation of privacy under the circumstances, and that rather than submitting to the patdown, the plaintiffs had the choice of walking away. The California Supreme Court reversed, and remanded the case to the trial court, finding that the 49ers had not demonstrated that the allegations of the complaint failed to state a cause of action: Read the rest »

Posted in: Invasion of Privacy


Invasion of Privacy: Social Networking Websites

By on June 2, 2009 - Comments off

Moreno v. Hanford Sentinel, Inc., (5th District, April 2, 2009) — Cal.Rptr.3d —-, 2009 WL 866795

A woman who posted an article on, a social networking website, expressing negative comments about her hometown and its inhabitants, filed suit against a local high school principal and his employer for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress based upon a republication of the article. The plaintiff alleged that even though she had removed the article from the website, the high school principal had forwarded it along with her name to a local newspaper, whereupon it was republished in a letters to the editor section. The plaintiff further alleged that the community reacted violently to the publication, that she and her family had received death threats, and that a shot was fired at the family home.

The trial court sustained the defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend, but the court of appeal affirmed in part and reversed in part. In a non-published portion of the opinion the court held that the trial court should have overruled the demurrer to the intentional infliction of emotional distress cause of action, and permit a jury to determine whether the alleged conduct was outrageous. However, in the published portion of the opinion, the court held that the plaintiff did not state a cause of action for invasion of privacy: Read the rest »

Posted in: Invasion of Privacy