False Light Lawsuits
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What Is Invasion of Privacy?
Invasion of privacy is defined as the intrusion of someone’s right to privacy. The invasion may be an unreasonable interference with an individual’s confidential information, solitude, or public image.
What Is False Light?
False light is an invasion of privacy tort, and it occurs when one person alters the public image of another person by portraying that person in an untrue and offensive light. The portrayal of the plaintiff’s character is highly offensive to a reasonable person. In addition, the defendant must show a reckless disregard to the publication of the matter that casts the victim in a false light.
How Does Defamation Differ from False Light?
Defamation involves making public statements about a person in oral or written form communicated to a third party. In other words, defamation involves damaging a person’s reputation. False light involves publicly portraying a person as something they are not or creating a false impression.
What Must Be Proven in a False Light Case?
A plaintiff has to prove four elements to have a successful claim against a defendant. The plaintiff must show the defendant invaded their privacy by:
- Giving publicity to an issue concerning the plaintiff
- Using the publicity to place the plaintiff in the false light of the public
- Ensuring that the false light is highly offensive to a reasonable person
- Knowing of the falsity or acting recklessly as to the falsity of the publicized issue and placing the plaintiff in the false light
What Is “Publicity”?
The term “publicity” means to make a matter public or to communicate a matter to the general public. It does not refer to publication, such as comments being made in an article or online.
Do All States Recognize False Light Lawsuits?
No. Some states, including New York and Texas, do not allow for people to file false light lawsuits.
Should I Contact an Attorney about a False Light Claim?
Yes. Contacting a personal injury attorney is highly recommended if someone has placed you in a false light. An attorney will explain the laws in your jurisdiction and how to proceed with the case.
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Last Modified: 07-29-2015 12:39 PM PDT
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