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Doe v. Roe

638 So. 2d 826 (1994)

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Doe v. Roe

Alabama Supreme Court

638 So. 2d 826 (1994)

Facts

John Roe (plaintiff) was the adoptive father of children whose biological mother was murdered and dismembered by the children’s biological father. Roe and his wife adopted the children shortly before their biological father was tried and convicted to a life sentence. The events of the murder and the biological father’s trial were highly publicized. Jane Doe (defendant) wrote a fictional novel based on the dramatized events of the murder and used the biological parents’ real first names. Doe planned to self-publish the novel. Roe filed suit on behalf of the adoptive children seeking an injunction against the distribution of the novel. Roe asserted, in part, that the novel contained false and misleading statements related to the murder that would place the children in a false light and would therefore be an invasion of their privacy. Doe argued that her right to freedom of speech outweighed the children’s right to privacy. The trial court ultimately granted a permanent injunction against the distribution of the novel, finding that prior restraint of Doe’s speech was justified because distribution of the novel would invade the children’s right to privacy. Doe appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)

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