Procedural Posture

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Appellant former prostitute sought review of the judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California), which sustained the demurrers of respondent film makers in the former prostitute’s action for damages alleging invasion of privacy.

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The former prostitute filed a complaint against the film makers alleging that she had suffered physical and mental injury as the result of an invasion of her privacy. The film makers produced and distributed a film about the life of a now reformed prostitute based on the true life story of the former prostitute. The film used the former prostitute’s maiden name and it was advertised that the former prostitute was, in fact, the character portrayed in the film. The superior court granted the film makers’ demurrers. On appeal, the court reversed and held that the use of the incidents from the former prostitute’s life in the moving picture was not, alone, actionable as these incidents appeared in the records of her murder trial, which was a public record. However, the publication by the film makers of the unsavory incidents in the past life of the former prostitute, after she had reformed, coupled with her true name, was a direct invasion of her inalienable right to pursue and obtain happiness.


The court reversed the judgment of the superior court sustaining the film makers’ demurrers to the reformed prostitute’s complaint alleging invasion of privacy.

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