Crump v. Beckley Newspapers, Inc

In Crump v. Beckley Newspapers, Inc., 173 W.Va. 699, 320 S.E.2d 70 (1983), the Court discussed the tort of invasion of privacy. In syllabus point eight of Crump, the Court held that "an 'invasion of privacy' includes: (1) an unreasonable intrusion upon the seclusion of another; (2) an appropriation of another's name or likeness; (3) unreasonable publicity given to another's private life; (4) publicity that unreasonably places another in a false light before the public." Id. at 703, 320 S.E.2d at 74. The Court explained that to have a defamation claim, a plaintiff must show that false and defamatory statements were made against him, or relating to him, to a third party who did not have a reasonable right to know, and that the statements were made at least negligently on the part of the party making the statements, and resulted in injury to the plaintiff. The elements were summarized in Syllabus Point 1 of Crump v. Beckley Newspapers, Inc., id., as follows: The essential elements for a successful defamation action by a private individual are (1) defamatory statements; (2) a nonprivileged communication to a third party; (3) falsity; (4) reference to the plaintiff; (5) at least negligence on the part of the publisher; and (6) resulting injury. The Court discussed false light claims and stated in Syllabus Point 12: "Publicity which unreasonably places another in a false light before the public is an actionable invasion of privacy." The Court also indicated in Syllabus Point 14 that a plaintiff in a false light case may not recover unless the false light in which he was placed would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.