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LegalSpeak: Rejecting False Light: Cain v. Hearst Corp. (Tex. 1994)

Other Torts Read more from
Chapter Personal Injury Law

We reject the false light invasion of privacy tort for two reasons: 1) it largely duplicates other rights of recovery, particularly defamation; and 2) it lacks many of the procedural limitations that accompany actions for defamation, thus unacceptably increasing the tension that already exists between free speech constitutional guarantees and tort law….

If we were to recognize a false light tort in Texas, it would largely duplicate several existing causes of action, particularly defamation. As we observed … some of the right of privacy interests have been afforded protection under such traditional theories as libel and slander, wrongful search and seizure, eavesdropping and wiretapping, and other similar invasions into the private business and personal affairs of an individual. Recovery for defamation requires the communication of a false statement….

Furthermore, the elements of damages that have been recognized in false light actions are similar to those awarded for defamation…. The false light cases considered by Texas courts of appeals, were all brought, or could have been brought, under another legal theory.

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