CHARLES WALKER OBTAINS A DISMISSAL OF OUTRAGE AND PRIVACY CLAIMS AGAINST HOA
Charles Walker recently won a motion to dismiss a collection of claims by a disgruntled homeowner who alleged that a series of her private Facebook messages were disseminated to others leading to harassment. Plaintiff claimed that at various points she had alerted those in charge of her HOA via Facebook about numerous instances of criminal activity in the neighborhood. The Plaintiff then claimed that those messages were shared outside of the HOA in a way which led those engaged in the criminal activity to discover her involvement and begin harassing and threatening her. Plaintiff claimed to have then suffered multiple and frequent panic attacks and anxiety to the point of selling her home.
Plaintiff creatively sued for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (which Kentucky still refers to as “Outrage”), Negligence, and Invasion of Privacy. Even though the HOA denied publishing any of those private messages, Charles was able to convince the Court without discovery that the type of conduct the HOA was alleged to have engaged in was not “outrageous” nor was it done with the sole purpose of harassing the Plaintiff. Furthermore, the Court ruled that as a matter of law, the Plaintiff had not pleaded a sufficiently extreme injury to maintain her action past the motion to dismiss. Finally, the Court determined that all claims required the Plaintiff to show that she had some expectation of privacy in a direct message she sent via Facebook, and the Court held that the very nature of social media belies any conclusion of privacy. Plaintiff’s claims were all dismissed as a result.
The attorneys at Sewell & Neal understand how social media has changed the landscape of privacy and can use that to your advantage. Our attorneys have developed efficient ways to discover and utilize social media data as well as data from wearable technology to defend all variety of tort claims.