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Invasion of Privacy Claims in SLAPPs


“Invasion of privacy” refers to the unlawful use or exploitation of one’s personality, the publicizing of one’s private affairs with which the public has no legitimate concern, or the wrongful intrusion into one’s private activities.

Sound familiar?

Although not all invasion of privacy claims are subject to the anti-SLAPP law, if you’ve been sued for invasion of privacy, you may well have been SLAPPed.

The case below is an example of an invasion of privacy SLAPP decided by the California Supreme Court.

Gates v. Discovery Communications, Inc.
California Supreme Court, 2004 (review of San Diego Co. Superior Court)
34 Cal.4th 679, 21 Cal.Rptr.3d 663

Gates had been convicted of accessory after the fact to a murder and served three years in prison. Several years later Discovery produced a program about the crime, portraying Gates’s involvement. After the program was broadcast, Gates sued Discovery for defamation and invasion of privacy. The trial court granted Discovery’s demurrer to the defamation cause of action but denied its demurrer to the complaint for invasion of privacy. Discovery then filed an anti-SLAPP motion to strike the latter complaint; the court denied the motion, finding that Discovery had failed to demonstrate that its account of the crime was newsworthy, thus making it likely that Gates would prevail on his complaint for invasion of privacy. The appellate court’s reversal was upheld, since Discovery’s report is protected by the First Amendment.

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Site last updated April 4, 2018 @ 12:53 pm; This content last updated February 28, 2016 @ 1:21 pm