Does the average member of the public have any privacy rights?
Yes. The average member of the public is entitled to privacy protections, although the strength of those protections will vary depending upon the particular factual circumstances. Generally, there are four different actions that an injured plaintiff can allege to recover for an unlawful invasion of his privacy.
1. Unlawful Appropriation of another’s image.
In this type of invasion of privacy, the plaintiff could make the claim, for example, if the defendant uses the plaintiff’s picture in a commercial or advertisement without his/her permission.
2. Nature of Intrusion (this might need a new title)
Another type of wrongful invasion of privacy considers the nature of the intrusion. If the plaintiff can prove that the defendant intruded into his or her solitude, seclusion or private life in a manner that would be considered highly offensive to a reasonable person, the plaintiff is entitled to recover damages from the defendant. The issue of what actions are considered highly offensive depends greatly upon the factual circumstances under examination.
3. Public Disclosure of Private Facts
This cause of action requires that the defendant disseminated facts having no link to a legitimate public concern and that dissemination resulted in embarrassment, humiliation or offense to the plaintiff. Whether the public has a legitimate concern in otherwise private facts about the plaintiff is always dependent upon the particular circumstances.
4. Projected in False Light in Public Eye (might need new title)
The final type of privacy right is the right to be free from being placed in a false light in the public eye. This cause of action is very similar to a defamation action. In short, the plaintiff alleges that a communication about the plaintiff was made by defendant, it is untrue, and it was made to the public. The main difference between this cause of action and defamation is that for the invasion of privacy tort, the communication need not be defamatory; it need only be false and highly offensive to a reasonable person.
Have a question about privacy rights in South Carolina? If so, contact personal injury attorney Andrew C. Barr at Fulton & Barr in Greenville, SC at (864) 235-3154 today to schedule your free initial consultation.