What Does Public Disclosure Mean ?

Public disclosure "means that the matter is made public, by communicating it to the public at large, or to so many persons that the matter must be regarded as substantially certain to become one of public knowledge." Restatement (Second) of Torts 652D cmt. a (1977); see also Jones v. U.S. Child Support Recovery, 961 F. Supp. 1518, 1520 (D. Utah 1997). Thus, communicating a private fact "to a small group of persons," for example, does not constitute public disclosure. Restatement (Second) of Torts 652D cmt. a. Nonetheless, the size of the audience that receives the communication, though an important consideration, is not dispositive of the issue. "Rather, the facts and circumstances of a particular case must be taken into consideration in determining whether the disclosure was sufficiently public so as to support a claim for invasion of privacy." Robert C. Ozer, P.C. v. Borquez, 940 P.2d 371, 378 (Colo. 1997); see, e.g., Kinsey v. Macur, 107 Cal. App. 3d 265, 165 Cal. Rptr. 608, 611-12 (Cal. Ct. App. 1980) (finding public disclosure where defendant maliciously sent letters to a geographically, socially, and professionally diverse group of roughly twenty people); Restatement (Second) of Torts 652D cmt. a (stating that publications in newspapers or magazines, even of small circulation, qualify as public disclosure).