Invasion of Privacy Suit Against An Author

In Cason v. Baskin, 155 Fla. 198, 20 So. 2d 243 (Fla. 1944), the Court first recognized the tort of invasion of privacy as a distinct cause of action in Florida. In that case, the plaintiff, a private person who claimed that publicity was extremely distasteful to her, brought an invasion of privacy claim against a well-known author, Marjorie Kinnan Baskin (also known as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings), who had published a book which contained a biographical sketch of the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that the book personally violated her right to privacy by exposing private facts about her to the public. Cason, 20 So. 2d at 245. This Court adopted the then recent reasoning of two legal scholars that allegations that the book published an intimate character sketch of the plaintiff could constitute a prima facie case of invasion of the plaintiff's right to privacy. Id. at 247. In so holding, this Court discussed invasion of privacy as a distinct and actionable tort. The right of privacy was inherent in the common law and had been protected, as shown by a number of English cases, under the guise of property rights, etc., and . . . the time had come for a recognition of this right of privacy as an independent right of the individual. Eldredge in his very interesting and recent book on "Modern Tort Problems," at page 77, says that Warren and Brandeis defined the right to privacy, in substance, to be "the right to be let alone, the right to live in a community without being held up to the public gaze if you don't want to be held up to the public gaze." [Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis, the Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193 (1890)]. Id. at 248.