Washington Law Review


Sean M. Scott


The private facts tort protects the privacy of individuals by punishing the publication of private information. The First Amendment protects the press when it publishes information in which the public has a legitimate interest. The right to keep information private and the right to publish information sometimes conflict. The First Amendment is often the victor in these conflicts; courts are concerned that the private facts tort threatens First Amendment values. This Article challenges the argument that punishing a media defendant for publishing truthful information will threaten unduly First Amendment values. The Article argues instead that the private facts tort promotes, not undermines, First Amendment values. The Article suggests a reallocation of the burdens of proof in private facts tort cases and demonstrates that this reallocation will revitalize the tort while not threatening First Amendment interests.

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