Nader v. General Motors Corp.

25 N.Y.2d 560, 307 N.Y.S.2d 647, 255 N.E.2d 765 (1970)

 

RULE:

The mere gathering of information about a particular individual does not give rise to a cause of action for invasion of privacy. Privacy  is invaded only if the information sought is of a confidential nature and the defendant's conduct was unreasonably intrusive. Just as a common-law copyright is lost when material is published, so, too, there can be no invasion of privacy where the information sought is open to public view or has been voluntarily revealed to others. 

FACTS:

Appellants sought review of appellate court's order denying appellants' motion to dismiss in respondent's action for invasion of privacy. Respondent alleged appellants engaged in harassing conduct with intent of preventing respondent from publishing his book, which criticized appellants' safety and design of automobiles. Court affirmed and determined that under law of District of Columbia, respondent had set out a claim for invasion of privacy. Court found District of Columbia intended to protect individuals from others who would unreasonably intrude into the personal affairs of others and disclose confidential information about the individual. There was no invasion of privacy claim set out where respondent alleged appellants asked friends of respondent personal information about respondent. 

ISSUE:

Was respondent able to sufficiently set out his claim of invasion of privacy?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The first two causes of action do contain allegations which are adequate to state a cause of action for invasion of privacy under District of Columbia law, the courts below properly denied the appellant's motion to dismiss those causes of action.  It is settled that, so long as a pleading sets forth allegations which suffice to spell out a claim for relief, it is not subject to dismissal by reason of the inclusion therein of additional nonactionable allegations. Thus, Court affirmed appellate court's decision, finding under District of Columbia law respondent sufficiently set out invasion of privacy claim where respondent alleged an unreasonable intrusion by appellants into confidential matters of respondent.

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