Dzamko v. Dossantos
An individual who allegedly uses another person's Facebook photo and distributes the photo to people in an Internet chat room, as though the photo were a picture of himself, can be sued for false light invasion of privacy, even if the plaintiff fails to allege actual damages. In 2010, Joseph Dossantos allegedly initiated sexually explicit conversations with police detectives, who pretended to be 14-year-old girls in Internet chat rooms, and sent the detectives pictures of himself that actually were pictures of a police officer named Joseph Dzamko. Internal affairs investigated Dzamko, and he was forced to inform his wife. Dzamko and his wife sued Dossantos and alleged that when Dossantos used Dzamko's photo without his permission, he publicized Dzamko in a manner that placed Dzamko in a false light. Dossantos moved to strike. The court found that the use of Dzamko's photo in a context that made Dzamko appear to be a sexual predator would be highly offensive to a reasonable individual. Allegations that Dossantos took Dzamko's Facebook picture and forwarded it to "females" in a highly unsavory context were sufficient to allege false light invasion of privacy. Dzamko was not required to prove actual damages, and the court denied Dossantos' motion to strike the false light invasion-of-privacy count. Dzamko and his wife also alleged extreme and outrageous conduct, and the court denied the defendant's motion to strike the plaintiffs' intentional-infliction-of-emotional-distress counts.