Louisiana Law: False Light Privacy Action

Szwak, David A.

Louisiana Law: False Light Privacy Action

Postby Szwak, David A. » Wed Oct 05, 2005 8:15 pm

the States of Louisiana and Florida, both states which do recognize and enforce false light invasion of privacy. Jaubert v. Crowley Post-Signal, Inc., 375 So.2d 1386 [La. 1979]; Landrum v. Board of Comm'rs, 685 So.2d 382 [La. App. 4th Cir. 1996]. The Jaubert court, at 1387-88, stated:
“In Louisiana jurisprudence, the right to privacy has been variously defined as "the right to be let alone" and "the right to an "inviolate personality.' " Pack v. Wise, 155 So.2d 909, 913 [La. App. 3d Cir. 1963], quoting Hamilton v. Lumbermen's Mut. Cas. Co., 82 So.2d 61, 63 [La. App. 1st Cir. 1955], writ denied 1955. Where an individual has such a right, in the form of one of the interests outlined above, other members of society have a corresponding duty not to violate that right. A violation constitutes a breach of duty, or fault, and may be actionable under C.C. 2315, which provides that "[e]very act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it." Pack v. Wise, supra; Tuyes v. Chambers, 144 La. 723, 81 So. 265 [1919]. Where no such right to privacy exists, however, a person's conduct may be the cause of another person's embarrassment, discomfiture, or monetary loss, but it will not constitute a "legal cause," because no duty has been breached. Even where a right to privacy is found to exist, Louisiana courts have distinguished between invasions of that right which are actionable and those which are not. An actionable invasion of privacy occurs only when the defendant's conduct is unreasonable [n4] and seriously interferes with the plaintiff's privacy interest. Comment, The Right of Privacy in Louisiana, 28 La.L.Rev. 469 [1968]. For an invasion to be actionable, it is not necessary that there be malicious intent on the part of the defendant. Lucas v. Ludwig, 313 So.2d 12 [La. App. 4th Cir. 1975], writ denied 1975. The reasonableness of the defendant's conduct is determined by balancing the conflicting interests at stake; the plaintiff's interest in protecting his privacy from serious invasions, and the defendant's interest in pursuing his course of conduct.”

David A. Szwak

Postby David A. Szwak » Thu Nov 03, 2005 9:29 pm

However, plaintiff in this case, Ann Middleton, lives and resides in Louisiana and her invasion of privacy claims are Louisiana-based and presumably subject to Louisiana substantive laws. Louisiana does recognize and enforce false light invasion of privacy. Jaubert v. Crowley Post-Signal, Inc., 375 So.2d 1386 [La. 1979]; Landrum v. Board of Comm'rs, 685 So.2d 382 [La. App. 4th Cir. 1996]. The Jaubert court, at 1387-88, stated:

“In Louisiana jurisprudence, the right to privacy has been variously defined as "the right to be let alone" and "the right to an "inviolate personality.' " Pack v. Wise, 155 So.2d 909, 913 [La. App. 3d Cir. 1963], quoting Hamilton v. Lumbermen's Mut. Cas. Co., 82 So.2d 61, 63 [La. App. 1st Cir. 1955], writ denied 1955. Where an individual has such a right, in the form of one of the interests outlined above, other members of society have a corresponding duty not to violate that right. A violation constitutes a breach of duty, or fault, and may be actionable under C.C. 2315, which provides that "[e]very act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it happened to repair it." Pack v. Wise, supra; Tuyes v. Chambers, 144 La. 723, 81 So. 265 [1919]. Where no such right to privacy exists, however, a person's conduct may be the cause of another person's embarrassment, discomfiture, or monetary loss, but it will not constitute a "legal cause," because no duty has been breached. Even where a right to privacy is found to exist, Louisiana courts have distinguished between invasions of that right which are actionable and those which are not. An actionable invasion of privacy occurs only when the defendant's conduct is unreasonable [n4] and seriously interferes with the plaintiff's privacy interest. Comment, The Right of Privacy in Louisiana, 28 La.L.Rev. 469 [1968]. For an invasion to be actionable, it is not necessary that there be malicious intent on the part of the defendant. Lucas v. Ludwig, 313 So.2d 12 [La. App. 4th Cir. 1975], writ denied 1975. The reasonableness of the defendant's conduct is determined by balancing the conflicting interests at stake; the plaintiff's interest in protecting his privacy from serious invasions, and the defendant's interest in pursuing his course of conduct.” Likewise, Louisiana also recognizes intrusion upon seclusion though false light seems to best fit the credit reporting issues.


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