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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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I was chatting privately with a person and asked her to keep

Customer Question

I was chatting privately with a person and asked her to keep it private to which she agreed. However, now she is sending our chat away to our friends. Can I sue her for this?

youtube mp3, limewire
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dave Kennett replied 5 years ago.

Dear JACUSTOMER - Unless you have a written confidentiality agreement you have no basis to sue. There is no legal contract in a promise since there is no consideration and unless this person in your doctor or lawyer there is no legal duty to keep anything a secret. If she makes any false statements you can sue her for slander or libel but if what she says is true you have no basis to sue because of some promise to keep things a secret.

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
isn't what she is doing an invasion of privacy?
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: Other.

utorrent, limewire
Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.

The first legal expert who answered your question is correct. In order to sue, you need a legal basis on which to base your suit. When you are on the internet in a "private" chat with someone, unless they are contractually bound to not disclose what you are telling them, then your privacy has not been invaded. To prove invasion of privacy, you have to be able to show that the person who is disclosing personal information did something wrong, like breach a contract, or obtain the information through fraud. In your situation, you were not in a contractual relationship (unless you paid the person to be in the private chat with them). Unless there is some indication of fraud (in which case you would need to show an intention to deceive another in order to intentionally cause legal injury), then your privacy has not been invaded. When we are talking about someone publishing something that you told them in private, the fact that you voluntarily disclosed the information will generally prevent you from asserting these types of claims.

Please let me know if you need clarification on this response or have any other related questions.

Best Regards,
Zachary D. Norris
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was reading this and it says nothing about contractual relationship.

For example, "However, if the matter is not one of public concern, and it is one that people would find offensive, there is an invasion of privacy. An example of publicity given to private life would be publicizing the fact that your neighbor has failed to pay his credit card bill for three months." I voluntarily disclosed the information only to that person and not to the whole world.
Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
The website you provided is not a correct statement of the law. A party must owe you a duty to not disclose before you can assert that they have invaded your privacy, as I stated before.

However, lets get specific. What state do you live in, and I will cite case law for you as to the specific standards for suing for invasion of privacy in that state.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ah, I forgot to mention one thing- she is asking for money and I don't give it to her, she will "release" the chat. California, San Diego.

gmail, limewire
Expert:  TexLaw replied 5 years ago.
Then you forgot to mention the most important thing. What the person is now threatening falls under the realm of blackmail (extortion).

California extortion laws are defined in Penal Codes 518 to 527 PC. Penal Code 518 defines extortion (which is commonly referred to as blackmail) as:

using force or threats to compel another to give you money or other property,

using force of threats to compel a public officer to perform an official act, or

being a public official and compelling another to give you money or other property acting under color of official right.1

Extortion is typically charged as a felony, punishable by up to four years in the California State Prison and by a maximum $10,000 fine.

Your situation falls under the first definition of the crime. You need to contact the policy and file a report against the person. You will also need to find out the persons actual identity and their location so that the police may pursue them.
TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 4430
Experience: Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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