The Guide is an invaluable online tool for litigation and transactional attorneys. The Guide provides for more than 70 common law causes of action:

- Each action’s elements;
- The most recent state and federal cases that cite the actions’ elements;
- The applicable statute of limitations for each action; and
- Defenses to each cause of action.
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Invasion of Privacy - Public Disclosue of Private Facts

1 Elements and Case Citations

T]he elements of the public-disclosure-of-private-facts tort are as follows:

  1. public disclosure;
  2. of a private fact;
  3. which would be offensive and objectionable to the reasonable person; and
  4. which is not of legitimate public concern.

The element of public disclosure “must be accompanied by publicity in the sense of communication to the public in general or to a large number of persons as distinguished from one individual or a few.”  Kinsey v. Macur, 107 Cal. App. 3d 265, 271 (1980).


Supreme Court of California:  Shulman v. Group W Productions, 18 Cal. 4th 200, 214 (1998).

California 1st District: Moreno v. Hanford Sentinel, Inc., 172 Cal. App. 4th 1125, 1129-30 (2009).

California 2d District: Morrow v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist., 149 Cal. App. 4th 1424, 1440 (2007).

California 3d District: Matson v. Dvorak, 40 Cal. App. 4th 539, 550 (1995).

California 4thDistrict: Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc., 214 Cal. App. 4th 808, 820-21 (2013).

California 5th District:  Moreno v. Hanford Sentinel, Inc., 172 Cal. App. 4th 1125, 1129-30 (2009).

California 6th District: None.


United States Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit: Doe v. Gangland Prods., No. 11-56325, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19102, at *26 (9th Cir. Sept. 16, 2013).

Central District: Carafano v. Metrosplash, Inc., 207 F. Supp. 2d 1055, 1068 (C.D. Cal. 2002), aff’d, 339 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2003).

Eastern District:  Grant v. United States, No. 2:11-cv-00360 LKK KJN PS, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 61833, at *15 (E.D. Cal. June 9, 2011).

Northern District: Doe v. John F Kennedy Univ., No. C-13-01137 DMR, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 122050, at *34-35 (N.D. Cal. Aug. 27, 2013).

Southern District:  Tourgeman v. Collins Fin. Servs., No. 08-CV-1392 JLS (NLS), 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 81070, at *33 (S.D. Cal. July 26, 2011).

2 Issues and Defenses to Claim for Invasion of Privacy – Public Disclosure of Private Facts

(1) Cal. Code Civ. Proc. § 431.30

(2) (pleading affirmative defenses), and other standard defenses.  See Chapter 1 for all defenses.

(2) Statute of Limitations: Cal. Code Civ. Proc. 340(3) (one year); Maheu v. CBS, Inc., 201 Cal. App. 3d 662, 676 (1988).

(3) Newsworthiness: “‘[L]ack of newsworthiness is an element of the “private facts” tort, making newsworthiness a complete bar to common law liability.’”  Taus v. Loftus, 40 Cal. 4th 683, 717 (2007).  “[N]ewsworthiness is ‘a constitutional defense to, or privilege against, liability for publication of truthful information.’”  Id. at 717 n.14.

(4) “[T]o be a private fact, the expectation of privacy in the fact need not be absolute. . . . Private is not equivalent to secret.” Moreno v. Hanford Sentinel, Inc., 172 Cal. App. 4th 1125, 1130 (2009).

(5) Truthfulness: “[T]he dissemination of truthful, newsworthy material is not actionable as a publication of private facts.” Shulman v. Group W Productions, 18 Cal. 4th 200, 215 (1998).

(6) Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations for invasion of privacy is one year.  Ion Equipment Corp. v. Nelson, 110 Cal. App. 3d 868, 880 (1980) (citing Cal. Civ. Proc. Code § 340).