SW Legal studies in Business

Secret Recording, without More, Insufficient for Invasion of Privacy Claim

Appeals court held that, under Connecticut law, making a recording of a conversation without knowledge of all present for the conversation, does not give rise to an invasion of privacy unless the recording is used for criminal or tortious reasons.

Topic Torts
Key Words

Invasion of Privacy; Recording

C A S E   S U M M A R Y

When Elizabeth Caro was near death from cancer, she was visited by her sons, Eric and David, and her brother Thomas and his wife Lynn. During the visit, Elizabeth talked to Lynn about a will drafted by Thomas. The will named Thomas the executor and contained provisions that Elizabeth did not like. Elizabethís husband, Marshall, told Lynn that their lawyer had prepared a will for both of them and that it was different than the will prepared by Thomas. Unknown to Elizabeth and Marshall, that conversation was recorded on an iPhone left in the room by Thomas. Elizabeth died without signing any will. Marshall filed papers to be named administrator of the estate. Eric and David opposed that request and submitted a copy of the recording about the will to the Probate Court. Marshall then sued Eric, David, and their lawyers for invasion of privacy. The district court dismissed the suit. Marshall appealed.


Affirmed. Under Connecticut law, invasion of privacy includes: 1) unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another; 2) appropriation of the otherís name or likeness; 3) unreasonable publicity given to the otherís private life; or 4) publicity that unreasonably places the other in a false light before the public. Invasion of privacy under Connecticut law cannot be accomplished simply by intercepting anotherís communications, but rather require that the tortfeasor has taken an affirmative step beyond the recording or that the nature of the tort is such that interception would not further it. For the recording to be illegal, the offender must intend to use the recording to commit a crime or tortious act. Merely intending to record the parties to the conversation is not enough.

Citation Caro v. Weintraub, ---F.3d--- (2010 WL 3191353, 2nd Cir., 2010)

Back to Torts Listings

©1997-2010 South-Western Legal Studies in Business, A Division of Cengage Learning. All Rights Reserved.