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G.D. v. Kenny

15 A.3d 300 (2011)

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G.D. v. Kenny

New Jersey Supreme Court

15 A.3d 300 (2011)

Facts

G.D. (plaintiff) was charged with possession of cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine, and distribution of cocaine in 1991. G.D. pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute and was sentenced to five years in prison. After his release, G.D. worked part-time for Brian Stack for approximately two years. In 2006, G.D. obtained an expungement of his conviction and all records of his arrest and charges. However, the New Jersey Department of Corrections continued to list G.D.’s conviction on its website as late as August 2008. In 2007, Stack sought the Democratic nomination for a seat on the New Jersey State Senate. The Hudson County Democratic Organization, Inc. (Democratic Organization) (defendant) opposed Stack. The Democratic Organization’s chief executive officer was Bernard Kenny (defendant). The Democratic Organization hired a political consulting and advertising firm, which discovered G.D.’s conviction and connection with Stack. The Democratic Organization published two flyers with G.D.’s photograph, noting that he was a convicted drug dealer. One flyer also included G.D.’s name. G.D. sued Kenny, the Democratic Organization, and others, alleging invasion of privacy. G.D. and the defendants all moved for summary judgment. The trial court denied the motions, but the court of appeals reversed, granting summary judgment to the defendants. G.D. petitioned the New Jersey Supreme Court for review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Albin, J.)

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