Maryland

Maryland recognizes the four privacy torts.

Intrusion: An appeals court reversed the dismissal of a claim by a former Congressman who sued two Baltimore Sun reporters who went to his nursing home to interview him without contacting him, his family, or the nursing home beforehand. Mitchell v. Baltimore Sun Co., 883 A.2d 1008 (Md. App. 2005).

Permitting the news media to “ride along” into a person’s home with law enforcement officers as they execute an arrest warrant does not necessarily violate a Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, a federal appellate court held in a case where reporters accompanied officers attempting to execute an arrest warrant in a home in Maryland. Wilson v. Layne, 141 F.3d 111 (4th Cir. 1998), aff’d on other grounds, 526 U.S. 603 (1999). The U.S. Supreme Court, however, held in May 1999 that law enforcement officers who permit the news media to follow them into a home while serving a warrant violate the Fourth Amendment rights of the subjects of warrants. Wilson v. Layne, 526 U.S. 603 (1999).

Private Facts: The publication of a criminal mug shot was not a private facts invasion because the mug shot was part of a public record. Pemberton v. Bethleham Steel Corp., 502 A.2d 1101 (Md. App. 1986), cert. denied, 508 A.2d 488 (Md. 1986), cert. denied, 479 U.S. 984 (1986).

A photograph of a man sitting in a backyard that was used to illustrate an article about teen murders, drug abuse, and severe economic hardship in Baltimore did not reveal “private information.” Kelson v. Spin Publications, Inc., 16 Med. L. Rptr. 1130 (D. Md. 1988).

False Light:The photograph of a man sitting in a backyard (above) gave rise to a false light claim because a reasonable editor might have realized that the juxtaposition posed a substantial danger to the man’s reputation. Kelson v. Spin Publications, 16 Med. L. Rptr. 1130 (D. Md. 1988).

Misappropriation:A newspaper’s republication of a front-page photograph of children at a fair that had been taken for an advertising campaign was not misappropriation because the photo was used to illustrate the quality and content of the newspaper, not to exploit the children, whose mother gave her consent for the first publication. Lawrence v. A.S. Abell Co., 475 A.2d 448 (Md. 1984).