Friday, April 10, 2015

First Civil Lawsuit Filed Under California "Revenge Porn" Statute

California became the first state to make it illegal to post illicit photos of another person without their knowledge or consent.  The so-called "revenge porn" statute plays out usually when a relationship goes bad and pictures obtained during the relationship are released by a disgruntled ex-lover.

Such was the case in the first civil lawsuit filed related to such conduct.  A Los Angeles woman has filed a civil complaint in the L.A. Superior Court alleging defamation, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and related causes of action.  Her ex boyfriend (who pleaded guilty to violation of restraining orders related to the same conduct) repeatedly posted explicit, sexual photographs on both personal and work Facebook pages and on the plaintiff's church website.

This is believed to be the first lawsuit of its kind in the U.S.  As technology and social media become more and more of our everyday lives, however, I have a feeling that it will not be the last.

California law provides for civil damages for conduct which is "extreme and outrageous" and which causes "severe" emotional distress to the victim.  In my book, posting explicit, nude photos of an ex girlfriend on her work Facebook page and her church website, seems to qualify under these elements. The issue will be whether or not the plaintiff in this case will be able to collect damages against the defendant as intentional acts are almost never covered by insurance and enforcing a judgment against an individual defendant can be difficult.

I wish her the best of luck!  This seems like an awful experience to have to endure!