D.C.

Intrusion: A reporter did not intrude upon the privacy of a public school principal and secretary by entering the school to interview the principal and, later, to retrieve a notebook because the reporter was only present in the areas that were open to the public and in which school employees had no expectation of privacy. Marcus Garvey Charter Sch. v. Washington Times Corp., 27 Med. L. Rptr. 1225 (D.C. Super. Ct. 1998).

Private Facts:A jury was deemed the appropriate body to determine whether documentary film footage of a young girl using dolls to demonstrate alleged sexual abuse amounted to wrongful disclosure of private facts, or was a matter of legitimate public concern. Foretich v. Lifetime Cable, 777 F.Supp. 47 (D.D.C. 1991), appeal dismissed, 953 F.2d 688 (D.C. Cir. 1992) (case settled March 23, 1992).

The publication of a photograph of a drug addict alongside a story quoting the same addict but using a pseudonym was not a publication of private facts because the addict consented to the interview and waived any privacy rights with respect to the photograph. The public’s interest in drug addiction supported the dissemination of credible information on the effects and risks of drug abuse, and the addict’s claims regarding his lack of consent were not credible. Little v. Washington Post, 11 Med. L. Rptr. 1428 (D.D.C. 1985).

False Light: A woman whose photograph was broadcast in a television report while the accompanying narration said “for the 20 million Americans who have herpes, it’s not a cure,” had a valid false light claim because viewers might have inferred that she had herpes. Duncan v. WJLA-TV, 106 F.R.D. 4 (D.D.C. 1984).

Television news broadcasts that suggested a local landlord, who was a private figure, tipped off drug dealers about an impending police raid did not create liability for false light invasion of privacy because the broadcasters were not negligent in failing to verify the truth of the allegation, as their source was a high-ranking police official whose credibility could be presumed. Kendrick v. Fox Television, 659 A.2d 814 (D.C. 1995).

A clarinetist with the National Symphony Orchestra had no false light claim as the result of the distribution of promotional materials for a holiday concert that depicted an actor posing as a clarinet player. On the issue of offensiveness, the court rejected the clarinetist’s proposed “reasonable performing artist” standard, and the more general reasonable person standard applied. Kitt v. Capital Concerts, Inc., 742 A.2d 856 (D.C. 1999).

Misappropriation: A woman whose photographs were used in a before-and-after presentation about plastic surgery had no misappropriation claim because there was no public interest or commercial value in her likeness. Vassiliades v. Garfinckel’s, 492 A.2d 580 (D.C. Ct. App. 1985).