Unreasonable invasion or intrusion is one of the four ways of violating a person’s privacy[i]. The rule adopted by many courts while entertaining a suit for privacy violation is to see whether[ii]:
- intrusion was intentional;
- such intrusion was upon defendant’s solitude or seclusion or private affairs or concerns; and
- such intrusion is highly offensive to a reasonable person.
In order to bring an action for tort of privacy invasion based upon the concept of intrusion on the seclusion of another, the following elements must be established[iii]:
- that defendant committed an unauthorized intrusion or prying into plaintiff’s seclusion;
- that intrusion was highly injurious and objectionable to a reasonable man;
- that matter intruded on was private; and
- that intrusion resulted in agony and suffering to plaintiff.
A claimant in an action for intrusion upon seclusion need not prove any harm beyond intrusion itself. According to a restatement provision, an intrusion can be both physical and otherwise[iv]. Some courts have observed that an intrusion into a plaintiff’s seclusion needs to be physical just like a trespass.
Unreasonable intrusion into a plaintiff’s seclusion does not depend upon any affairs or publicity given to plaintiff, whose interest is invaded. The heart of privacy invasion claim based upon intrusion into a plaintiff’s solitude is the offense of investigating into private concerns of plaintiff, and not publication of such investigation results. Thus intrusion itself will make defendant liable, even though there is no publication or other use of any kind of photograph or information about plaintiff[v].
[i] Restat 2d of Torts, § 652A.
[ii] Bonanno v. Dan Perkins Chevrolet, 2000 Conn. Super. LEXIS 287 (Conn. Super. Ct. Feb. 4, 2000).
[iii] Doe v. High-Tech Inst., Inc., 972 P.2d 1060 (Colo. Ct. App. 1998).
[iv] Moore v. R. Z. Sims Chevrolet-Subaru, Inc., 241 Kan. 542 (Kan. 1987).
[v] Jones v. U. S. Child Support Recovery, 961 F. Supp. 1518 (D. Utah 1997).