Texas Wesleyan Law Review


Michael Sewell

Document Type



Although invasion of privacy tort law has existed for more than a century in the United States,1 in Texas, this area of the law is in its infancy, tracing back only a quarter century.2 The purpose of this comment is three-fold: (1) to illustrate the origins of the four modern torts constituting invasion of privacy; (2) to examine public disclosure of embarrassing private facts ("private-facts tort"); and (3) to argue for revising the Texas private-facts tort in order to resolve its current conflict with the rights to free speech and free press. This discussion centers on recent mass media cases that conflict with the First Amendment.' Although the mass media does not have legal rights superior to any person, partnership, or corporation, this comment assumes protecting mass media interests serves to safeguard all First Amendment interests. Part I of this comment traces the origins of invasion of privacy in the United States and explores available defenses. Part II traces invasion of privacy in Texas with specific emphasis on the private-facts tort. Part III offers suggestions to Texas courts regarding invasion of privacy as it continues to evolve in Texas.



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