Invasion of Privacy
Although many people might assume that invasion of privacy involves someone stepping into your personal space, the legal definition is different. In the civil context, invasion of privacy involves revealing personal and delicate information about someone else that they want to keep private. There are instances when sharing certain private details isn’t considered against the law, and others when it is. It often comes down to the manner and details of the divulgence that makes the difference between an actionable cause and a non-actionable cause. Here is what you need to know about invasion of privacy laws.
Reasonable Expectation of Privacy
The basic principle of an invasion of privacy claim comes down to the rule of reasonable expectation. Does the person have a reasonable expectation to be left alone given the circumstances? Take, as an example, something as simple as your mail. If you write your address and name on envelopes and send them into circulation, you can’t expect that information to be kept completely private. On the other hand, if someone records a private conversation in your house without your knowledge, you can certainly say that you had a reasonable expectation that the conversation would remain private. If this information is used to hurt your reputation in some way and there are measurable damages, that’s when you should see a lawyer about filing a claim.
Intrusion of Solitude
There are four kinds of invasion of privacy claims based on the circumstances, the first being intrusion of solitude. When the privacy of someone is interrupted either physically or through the use of cameras or video recording in a manner considered offensive to a reasonable person, this is the claim you should file. These types of claims usually stem from people who want to observe others in very private moments by looking into someone’s home or other private areas.
Courts have ruled that capturing images from far away using cameras counts as intrusion of solitude as well.
Appropriation Of Name Or Likeness
This claim arises when someone uses a person’s identity for monetary gain or other benefit. This claim is usually asserted when a company uses a celebrity’s name or image to sell products without their prior consent and compensation. There are a number of exceptions to this rule, and in Pennsylvania there is both a statutory and a common law right, so if you believe your image is being used without your consent, consult an attorney before filing any action.
Disclosure of Private Facts
This is when someone reveals certain private true facts about another that is damaging or embarrassing to another person. This one can be tricky due to the public concern exception. If someone reveals private facts about another that somehow causes them damage, courts will weigh the First Amendment rights of public concern against the individual’s right to privacy. If the facts are of no public concern and are considered offensive under the reasonable person standard, then a suit may be necessary.
Lastly is the tort of false light. This is when information is spread about an individual that is embarrassing, offensive, or damaging to them. The important details here are that the information needs to be false and the information so widespread that it becomes public knowledge. Although this sounds similar to defamation, they are two different causes of action and you need to contact an attorney experienced in such cases to determine which applies to your set of circumstances.
Contact a Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Privacy Case Today
Did someone violate your right to privacy in Pennsylvania? Don’t let your name continue to be harmed. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The Law Office of Mark A. Smith represents clients harmed due to invasion of privacy in Allegheny county, Westmoreland county, and Erie county. Call 412-567-1313 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 215 E. 8th Avenue, Homestead PA, 15120, as well as an office at 322 North Shore Drive, Building 1B, Suite 200, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.