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Nader v. General Motors Corp

Law Dictionary

Law Dictionary

Featuring Black's Law Dictionary 2nd Ed.
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Torts Keyed to Epstein

Citation. Nader v. General Motors Corp., 25 N.Y.2d 560, 255 N.E.2d 765, 307 N.Y.S.2d 647, 1970 N.Y. LEXIS 1618 (N.Y. 1970)

Brief Fact Summary. The Plaintiff, Nader (Plaintiff), alleged that the Defendant, General Motors Corp. (Defendant), harassed and intimidated him to prevent the Plaintiff from releasing his book about the Defendant, “Unsafe at any Speed.”ť At issue are the Plaintiff’s claims for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. Privacy is invaded only if the information sought is of a confidential nature and defendant’s conduct was unreasonably intrusive. There can be no invasion of privacy where the information sought is open to public view or has been voluntarily revealed to others.

Facts. The Plaintiff, an author and lecturer on automobile safety, has, for some years, been an articulate and severe critic of the Defendant’s products from the standpoint of safety and design. The Plaintiff claimed that Defendant, having learned of the imminent publication of the Plaintiff’s books “Unsafe at any Speed,”ť decided to conduct a campaign of intimidation against him in order to suppress the Plaintiff’s criticism of and prevent his disclosure of information about its products. The Plaintiff alleged that the Defendant’s agents: (1) questioned the Plaintiff’s acquaintances about the Plaintiff’s social, racial, religious and sexual views; (2) kept the Plaintiff under surveillance in public places for an unreasonable amount of time; (3) cause him to be accosted by girls to trap him into illicit relationships; (4) made threatening, harassing and obnoxious telephone calls; (5) tapped his telephone and eavesdropped on private conversations by using mechanical and electrical equi
pment and, (6) conducted a continuing and harassing investigation of him. The Plaintiff sued the Defendant for invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with the Plaintiff’s economic advantage. The Defendant’s motion to dismiss the invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims was denied. The Defendant appealed.

Issue. Did the Plaintiff state a legally sufficient claim against the Defendant for invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress?
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