Florida Privacy Lawyers Serving South Florida Clients

The state of Florida contains strict privacy laws designed to protect citizens from unwarranted invasions of privacy into their home or private life. While there are some exceptions, the law strongly favors the victims. You may feel violated, mistrustful, and unsafe if someone unexpectedly violates your privacy. In doing so, that person may reveal confidential information and secrets about you that are not meant for the public eye. You have every right to be furious and to demand that any information or documents stolen from you be returned immediately. However, did you know that you also have legal recourse for an invasion of privacy?

Invasion of privacy is a civil tort. A tort is a legally cognizable wrongdoing that allows a harmed individual to seek redress for injuries. While invasion of privacy is a relatively new tort, Florida courts have long recognized the “right to be let alone.” Privacy is one of the underlying tenants of a democracy – citizens should have the freedom to go about their lives without worrying about the prying eyes of others, such as the government or press. If someone has invaded your privacy, you have the right to seek compensation for your injuries and an injunction to prevent release of your private information. The skilled privacy lawyers at Kaiser Romanello represent victims who have found themselves subject to unwanted and unwarranted invasions of privacy. We can assist you with trying to protect your private information and obtain compensation for your injuries. To schedule a free case evaluation on your invasion of privacy claims, call Kaiser Romanello at 855-200-1000.

Types of Invasion of Privacy

Unlike many other torts, which grew out of British common law and were transported to the U.S. during colonization, invasion of privacy became a tort only in the past two centuries. Invasion of privacy is centered around the “right to be let alone.” U.S. courts created a private civil remedy to protect privacy interests, deter invasion, and punish wrongdoers.

Invasion of privacy is commonly classified as a speech-related tort, much like defamation. As such, there are important First Amendment implications. In determining if a defendant is liable for invasion of privacy, Florida courts consider two main issues: (1) whether the defendant has committed at least one of the four forms of invasion of privacy and (2) whether the First Amendment permits this conduct. The four main forms of invasion of privacy are:

  1. Intrusion
  2. Appropriation
  3. Public disclosure
  4. False light

Intrusion

The most commonly recognized form of invasion of privacy occurs when someone has intruded upon someone else’s right to seclusion and solitude. The home receives the highest level of protection, though other locations such as cars and offices also receive some level of protection. In addition, items such as diaries, safes, and computer hard drives also receive protection under privacy law.

Intrusion can occur when the defendant enters the property without lawful permission. This form of invasion of privacy is often associated with videotaping and recording another person.  It is illegal to install a hidden camera on someone else’s property. It is also illegal to record a phone conversation without the other party’s knowledge and permission.

Appropriation

Appropriation is unlike the other forms of privacy interests in that it focuses more on protecting an individual’s right to control the use of their identity for profit purposes. Appropriation refers to the use of an individual’s name, identity, photograph or likeness without their permission. For instance, you cannot name your clothing company “Marilyn Monroe” and use a photograph of Marilyn Monroe as your logo. In addition, in Florida, commercial appropriation such as this incurs punitive damages.

Public Disclosure

Another common form of invasion of privacy occurs when private facts are publicly disclosed. In fact, Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis, the fathers of privacy law, based their seminal article, The Right to Privacy, on the notion that “what is whispered in the closet” should not “be proclaimed from the housetops.” Private facts include information about a person’s medical history, social security number, sexual past or the contents of their diary.

However, this form of invasion is only legally cognizable when it is made public through a news source. If your mother tells your aunt about your health issues, you cannot sue your mother for invading your privacy. However, if your mother tells the newspaper and the newspaper writes an article without obtaining permission, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. The only defense to public disclosure of private facts by a news source is if the information is newsworthy.

False Light

False light invasion of privacy is similar to defamation – stories, photos, quotes, and more that are re-worded or taken out of context to put an individual in a false light are actionable. The tabloids are often subject to a myriad of false light publicity lawsuits from celebrities when the tabloids invent fictional stories about the personal lives of celebrities in hopes of selling more issues.

Protect Your Privacy with Kaiser Romanello

At Kaiser Romanello, we understand how trying and difficult a sudden and unexpected invasion of privacy can be. It is our job to try to track down the source and help you find justice. To speak with our skilled Florida privacy lawyers, call Kaiser Romanello at 855-200-1000 today.

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