Invasion of Privacy–Intrusion

Invasion of Privacy–Intrusion

Invasion of Privacy–Intrusion

The law provides everyone with some basic rights to privacy. Privacy is the general right to be left alone and free from unwanted publicity. Unreasonable invasion of one’s privacy can cause harm.

There are four well-established lawsuits for invasion of privacy: appropriation; false light; intrusion; and disclosure. In most states, the rights in these lawsuits are personal. Most end when a person dies, and they do not apply to corporations and other legal entities.

This article discusses the invasion of privacy lawsuit that is known as intrusion.

Your Solitude and Private Concerns

People have a general right to freedom from intrusions on their solitude and private concerns. Intrusion is defined as peering, probing, or prying into the solitude or private concerns of another. The lawsuit of intrusion is for unreasonable peering, probing, or prying into one’s solitude or private concerns. One classic example is someone opening your mail without your consent. Another classic example is a person who takes a peep (i.e., a brief look) in your window while you are changing your clothes.

The Elements of Intrusion

The basic elements of intrusion are (1) unreasonably, either intentionally or negligently, (2) intruding upon the solitude or private concerns of another. Because of the law of standing, generally only the person who has been intruded upon, or his or her guardian, can bring the lawsuit. Special damages and punitive damages, if any, must also be proven.

Defenses to Intrusion

The defendant in an intrusion lawsuit can challenge the plaintiff’s proof of the basic elements of intrusion. For example, the defendant may be able to show that the plaintiff did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy or that what the plaintiff contends is private is actually public.

A licensed private investigator has a unique defense. A licensed private investigator has a license to intrude upon the solitude and private concerns of another to the extent necessary to legally perform a reasonable private investigation.

A common defense to invasion of privacy is consent, express or implied. A person who accepts money or other considerations in exchange for an invasion of privacy is said to have sold his or her “rights.” Also, some defendants, such as police officers, have immunity if they are acting within the scope of their authority.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.