§39.4 False Light Invasion of Privacy – Application of Privileges
The Case: West v. Media General Convergence, Inc. , 53 S.W. 3d 640 (Tenn. 2001).
The Basic Facts: Plaintiffs operated a private probation services business, and were referred this business by the general sessions courts in Hamilton County. Plaintiffs claimed that WDEF-TV defamed them by broadcasting false statements that the plaintiffs' business is illegal. Plaintiff West, in particular, claimed that the defendant invaded her privacy by implying that she had a sexual relationship with one of the general session judges; and that the general sessions judges and the plaintiffs otherwise had a "cozy," and hence improper, relationship. The opinion in this case recognizes the tort of false light invasion of privacy.
The Bottom Line:
- "With respect to the parameters of the tort of false light, we conclude that Sections 652F-I of the [RESTATEMENT (SECOND) OF TORTS] adequately address its limits. Sections 652F and 652G note that absolute and conditional privileges apply to the invasion of privacy torts, and we hereby affirm that such privileges previously recognized in Tennessee apply to false light claims." 53 S.W. 3d at 648.