Privacy is a broad concept that reaches into every part of our lives. Physical privacy—that is, the ability to be alone and unobserved—is just one component of a larger picture. In our technological age privacy also comes into play with respect to photos and videos. People also expect privacy with respect to certain personal information, like details of their medical history.
Having one’s privacy violated can be a traumatic experience. The victim of an invasion of privacy may suffer a range of consequences, from psychological disturbance to real and lasting personal and professional consequences. In some situations a lawsuit may be appropriate to seek compensation for the serious consequences that can follow an invasion of privacy.
In legal terms, “privacy” is a complex topic with several specific categories, each with their own set of rules. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Intrusion upon seclusion. The law provides a general protection for each individual’s reasonable expectation of privacy. Whether an individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy is a complicated question, due in part to the history of judicial precedent covering this question. There are some clear cases where a person can reasonably expect privacy: inside a stall in a public restroom, inside one’s own home, inside a tent at a campground. As with many abstract concepts, this notion of privacy has fuzzy edges that require careful analysis. In general, a lawsuit based on intrusion upon seclusion requires that the defendant have acted intentionally. A neighbor who happens to glance through a window that faces onto the street may not be intruding upon seclusion, but if he climbed a fence to peek through the window the case would probably be different.
- Appropriation of likeness or identity. Nevada law prohibits anyone from using a photo or film of an individual, or an individual’s name, for commercial purposes without the individual’s prior consent. The law provides an exception for newsworthy items. For example, an evening news show is allowed to display a photo of individuals present at a car crash without first getting their consent.
- Public disclosure of private facts. One of the important categories of privacy covers all the information that each person accumulates about himself or herself that one expects will remain private. Financial information, medical records, family photos, and even a personal diary can all be examples of this sort of information. This cause of action requires that the defendant have disclosed the information to the public in a way that a reasonable person would find offensive. Unlike the previous cause of action, there is no newsworthiness exception to disclosure of this kind of information.
Someone who feels that their privacy has been violated should consider consulting with an attorney. Before filing a lawsuit there are a number of important questions that need to be considered, such as the extent to which the victim’s harm can be quantified, whether the invasion of privacy is ongoing, and the motivations of the potential defendant.
For more than 45 years the law firm of Greenman Goldberg Raby Martinez has helped clients in the Las Vegas area recover compensation for their injuries. If you have questions about your privacy case, please call us today for a free attorney consultation at 702-388-4476 or reach us through our contact page.