Personal Injury Law

Other Torts

What tort protects a person from being photographed in the bathroom?

The tort of invasion of privacy likely would apply in this situation. Invasion of privacy refers to a collection of causes of actions designed to protect a person’s “right to be let alone.” Born in the late nineteenth century, this tort actually consists of four different types: (1) intrusion, (2) public disclosure of private facts, (3) false light, and (4) appropriation.

Intrusion applies when a tortfeasor unreasonably intrudes on a person’s physical privacy by following them, photographing them, or opening their private mail. Public disclosure of private facts occurs when a person discloses material of a person’s personal private life that is not of legitimate concern to the public. This tort differs from defamation, because the tortfeasor can be sued for the disclosure of even true information. False light refers to placing a person in a false light in a manner that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person. Let’s say a television program ran a program on the problems of street prostitution and featured stock footage of a woman walking down the street. That woman may have a claim for false light, claiming that the placement of the footage falsely implied she was a prostitute. The final type of invasion of privacy is appropriation, which refers to the use of a plaintiff’s name or likeness for financial gain without permission.


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