Judge v Saltz Plastic Surgery, P.C.

Judge sued Saltz and a television station alleging several torts arising from the broadcast of redacted nude photos during a story on plastic surgery. The Ddstrict court granted summary judgment to Saltz on all claims and the Court of Appeals reversed as to all claims. The Court granted certiorari as to publication of private facts and intrusion on seclusion and, with a three justice majority and one justice concurring in result, affirmed. As to private facts, the majority adopted the Restatement (Second) of Torts 652D rule requiring the plaintiff in a private facts case to prove the facts involved are not of legitimate concern to the public as this narrows the tort and brings it within First Amendment protection of speech and the press.. The majority offered guidance about applying the new elements noting that newsworthiness is to be determined by the customs and conventions of the community and newsworthiness requires a logical connection to a subject a decent member of the community would find of interest. Applying here, the majority held the Court of Appeals correctly found that reasonable minds could differ over whether the phots were newsworthy as judge voluntarily submitted to an interview about her plastic surgery at her doctor’s urging and a jury must decide if gave rise to a public interest in seeing the photographic depictions of the results of the surgery. Thus summary judgment was inappropriate. The majority also held that the Court of Appeals correctly reversed on the intrusion claim as there are questions of fact about whether Judge’s consent to be photographed during surgery extended to consent to have the photos sent to a reporter and broadcast to the public at large as the phrases “educational purposes” and “so long as my identity is not revealed by the phots’ are ambiguous. The concurrence argued that the consent forms wert not ambiguous and that Saltz clearly committed intrusion on seclusion by sending the photos with Judge’s name to the reporter.