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Michael Gonzalez
Michael Gonzalez,
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 60
Experience:  Managing Member at EWF Title, LLC
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I have a past due balance with a utility company. They sent

Customer Question

I have a past due balance with a utility company. They sent a rep to my apartment to collect it but I was not home. They left a "door hanger" on my outside door with my name an balance due.
Is this a violation of my privacy? Would it be grounds for a lawsuit?
It was left on the outside door where any neighbor can see it. Aside from being terribly humiliating in front of my neighbors, I am afraid that my landlord will now treat me differently if he thinks I am having financial difficulties.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Expert:  Michael Gonzalez replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.

NewYork does not recognize a legal claim for the publication of private facts. In New York, all invasion of privacy claims are governed by sections 50 and 51 of the New York Civil Rights Law,which prohibit the use of a living person's name or likeness for purposes of trade or advertising without consent. None of those statutes appear to apply to your facts.

Also, there would be no claim to defamation as you concede that the balance is past due.

In addition, a claim for tortious interference with a contractual relationship (i.e., tenant-landlord lease) may be contemplated but appears to be a stretch at best.

Nonetheless, I would still recommend consulting a local attorney to protect your rights and advise you accordingly.

Good luck