South Dakota

The South Dakota Supreme Court recognizes a general cause of action for invasion of privacy but has refrained from expressly accepting or rejecting the four traditional torts.

Intrusion: Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun stayed a preliminary injunction barring the broadcast of surreptitiously videotaped footage of a beef processing plant because he found the injunction was an invalid prior restraint. The trial court had held that the plant would likely succeed on trespass and other claims. , Civ. No. 94-590 (N.D. Cir. Ct. Feb. 7, 1994), , , 114 S.Ct. 912 (Blackmun, Circuit Justice 1994).

Private Facts: The wife of a state senator, who also was the majority owner and president of one of their family businesses, was the subject of a newspaper article and a subsequent letter to the editor in response to the article that suggested her position with the family business was orchestrated to allow the business to qualify for government benefits as a minority or woman-owned business. Her and her husband’s lawsuit for invasion of privacy over the letter to the editor failed because the two were public figures engaged in activities of legitimate public concern. 545 N.W.2d 205 (S.D. 1996).

The publication of a photograph of a 69-year-old post office employee sorting mail, taken with the postmaster’s permission, to illustrate an article on financial hardships of the elderly was protected because the federal government retirement age of 70 is a legitimate matter of public interest. , 119 N.W.2d 914 (S.D. 1963).