Punitive damages are, of course, properly recoverable when the requisite elements of intrusion of privacy are present.
Appellant mother's house burned down, and her 17-year-old daughter was killed. At the fire officials request, appellee newspaper publisher's photographer took pictures including silhouette of the spot her daughter was found, which was published in the paper. Appellant sought damages for trespass, invasion of privacy, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted appellee's motion for summary judgment. The court reversed on appellant's complaint for compensatory damages for trespass and invasion of privacy because appellee did not have consent to enter the burned down house and the intrusion entitled appellant to damages. On review, the court reversed as to appellant mother's claim for compensatory damages for trespass and invasion of privacy, and affirmed the decision for appellee newspaper publisher on claim for punitive damages for trespass and invasion of privacy, invasion of privacy without trespass and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Did the trial judge err in granting a motion for summary judgment in favor of the defendant on the issue of punitive damages?
The court affirmed the trial court decision to not award punitive damages because appellant did not rebut the facts in appellee's motion for summary judgment, although punitive damages were recoverable for an invasion of privacy case. The court affirmed the dismissal of the alleged invasion of privacy without trespass. Although damages for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress were recoverable, the court affirmed the dismissal because appellant did not allege facts to support the allegations.