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Bazemore v. Savannah Hosp. - 171 Ga. 257, 155 S.E. 194 (1930)

Rule:

The publication of a picture of a person, without his consent, as a part of an advertisement for the purpose of exploiting the publisher's business is a violation of the right of privacy of the person whose picture is reproduced, and entitles him to recover without proof of special damage.

Facts:

Plaintiffs, parents William and Merl Bazemore, brought their child to defendant Savannah Hospital for an operation. The operation was unsuccessful, and the child died. Defendant Savannah Hospital allowed defendant Foltz to photograph and portray the child in a nude condition and gave to defendant Savannah Press the facts in the case without permission or knowledge of the parents. Defendants Savannah Press and Foltz exposed the case to the public. The parents filed an action against defendants alleging invasion of privacy as a result of defendant publishing a picture of the deceased child as part of an advertisement. Defendants filed demurrers on the grounds that the petition set out no cause of action; that there was a misjoinder of parties plaintiff and defendant; that the damages were too remote to be the basis of recovery, and were not the natural and proximate result of any act of defendants alleged. The demurrers were sustained by the Chatham Superior Court of Georgia, and the case was dismissed. The parents appealed the order of dismissal.

Issue:

Were parents of a deceased child entitled sue for damages arising from the unconsented publication of the picture of their child as part of an advertisement?

Answer:

Yes.

Conclusion:

The Court held that the parents of a deceased child were entitled to sue and recover for invasion of privacy and for their general and special damages against a defendant who used the picture of the child in an advertisement. According to the Court, where there has been an invasion of a right from which the law would presume damages to flow, additional damages for pain and suffering might be recorded. In addition, the child was dead when the unauthorized acts were committed, and the right of action could not be in the child, but in the parents. The Court reversed the judgment of the lower court.   

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