Thursday, December 19, 2013


Invasion of privacy is the intrusion into the personal life of another, without just cause, which can give the person whose privacy has been invaded a right to bring a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity that intruded. It encompasses workplace monitoring, Internet privacy, data collection, and other means of disseminating private information.
Celebrities are not protected in most situations, since they have voluntarily placed themselves already within the public eye, and their activities are considered newsworthy. However, an otherwise non-public individual has a right to privacy from: a) intrusion on one's solitude or into one's private affairs; b) public disclosure of embarrassing private information; c) publicity which puts him/her in a false light to the public; d) appropriation of one's name or picture for personal or commercial advantage.
The Supreme Court has ruled that there is a limited constitutional right of privacy based on a number of provisions in the Bill of Rights and subsequent amendments. This includes a right to privacy from government surveillance into an area where a person has a "reasonable expectation of privacy" and also in matters relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing and education. However, records held by third parties such as financial records or telephone calling records are generally not protected unless a specific federal law applies. The court has also recognized a right of anonymity and the right of groups to not have to disclose their members' names to government agencies.
The criminal voyeurism statute of some states cover "a place where [one] would have a reasonable expectation of privacy", meaning:
  1. A place where a reasonable person would believe that he or she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that his or her undressing was being photographed or filmed by another; or
  2. A place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from casual or hostile intrusion or surveillance.
Given the similarity to voyeurism, a jury might find that placing a hidden camera in a certain location may amount to the torts of outrage or negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Concealment is the act of refraining from disclosure especially an act by which one prevents or hinders the discovery of something; a cover-up. It is an affirmative act intended or known to be likely to keep another from learning of a fact of which s/he would otherwise have learned. Such affirmative action is always equivalent to a misrepresentation and has any effect that a misrepresentation would have For example, the unlawful suppression of any fact or circumstance by one of the parties to a contract from the other, which in justice ought to be made known, will amount to concealment. 

Under insurance law, concealment refers to the insured's intentional withholding from the insurer material facts that increase the insurer's risk and that in good faith ought to be disclosed.The insured is required to disclose all the circumstances within his/her own knowledge only, which increase the risk. However s/he is not bound to disclose general circumstances which apply to all policies of a particular description, even if they may greatly increase the risk. 

Fraud is generally defined in the law as an intentional misrepresentation of material existing fact made by one person to another with knowledge of its falsity and for the purpose of inducing the other person to act, and upon which the other person relies with resulting injury or damage. Fraud may also be made by an omission or purposeful failure to state material facts, which nondisclosure makes other statements misleading.

To constitute fraud, a misrepresentation or omission must also relate to an 'existing fact', not a promise to do something in the future, unless the person who made the promise did so without any present intent to perform it or with a positive intent not to perform it. Promises to do something in the future or a mere expression of opinion cannot be the basis of a claim of fraud unless the person stating the opinion has exclusive or superior knowledge of existing facts which are inconsistent with such opinion. The false statement or omission must be material, meaning that it was significant to the decision to be made. 

Sometimes, it must be shown that the plaintiff's reliance was justifiable, and that upon reasonable inquiry would not have discovered the truth of the matter. For injury or damage to be the result of fraud, it must be shown that, except for the fraud, the injury or damage would not have occurred.

To constitute fraud the misrepresentation or omission must be made knowingly and intentionally, not as a result of mistake or accident, or in negligent disregard of its truth or falsity. Also, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant intended for the plaintiff to rely upon the misrepresentation and/or omission; that the plaintiff did in fact rely upon the misrepresentation and/or omission; and that the plaintiff suffered injury or damage as a result of the fraud. Damages may include punitive damages as a punishment or public example due to the malicious nature of the fraud.

There are many state and federal laws to regulate fraud in numerous areas. Some of the areas most heavily litigated include consumer fraud, corporate fraud, and insurance fraud.

Obstruction of justice is an attempt to interfere with the administration of the courts, the judicial system or law enforcement officers. It may include tampering with or intimidating, hiding evidence or interfering with an arrest. It is something a person does to impede the administration of a court process or proper discharge of a legal duty. Interference may be with the work of police, investigators, regulatory agencies, prosecutors, or other (usually government) officials. Often, no actual investigation or substantiated suspicion of a specific incident need exist to support a charge of obstruction of justice. Such activity is a crime.

The crime of threatening a witness in federal cases is defined by statute at 18 U.S.C. § 1512, "Tampering with a witness, victim, or an informant". The punishment for such an offense is up to 20 years if physical force was used or attempted, and up to 10 years if physical force was only threatened.

The due process guarantees under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution Clause provide that the government shall not take a person's life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The due process clause of the 5th Amendment applies to the federal government and the 14th Amendment applies to the states. Due process involves both procedual and substantive aspects. Procedural due process requires fairness in the methods used to deprive a person of life, liberty or property, while substantive due process requires valid governmental justification for taking a person's life' liberty or property. Due process requirements apply to both criminal and civil law.

Due process generally requires fairness in government proceedings. A person is entitled to notice and opportunity to be heard at a hearing when they have life, liberty. or property at stake. Laws should be applied to persons equally, without discrimination on prohibited grounds, such as gender, nationality, handicap, or age. In criminal cases, fair procedures help to ensure that an accused person will not be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, which occurs when an innocent person is wrongly convicted. Due process requirements apply to such government proceedings as trials, parole hearings, and administrative hearings involving benefits, among others. 

For example, when a person's home is in danger of tax foreclosure, the notice of delinquency is required to be sent within a certain time period and the person must be allowed to pay the full amount owed before it is sold to a third party. If there is an error in taxation or the person wishes to contest the appraisal, an appeals process is available.

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