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Hall v. Post

North Carolina Supreme Court
372 S.E.2d 711 (N.C. 1988)


Facts

In July 1984, a newspaper published an article by Rose Post (defendant), entitled "Ex-Carny Seeks Baby Abandoned 17 Years Ago." The article told the story of a former carnival-worker's search for a child she and her former husband had abandoned; the article stated that the baby's birth father had arranged for a babysitter named Mary Hall (plaintiff) to keep the child for a few weeks and subsequently signed papers authorizing the child's adoption. Two days later, the newspaper published another article by Post indicating that the child had been located as a result of the earlier article. The article identified the child as Susie Hall (plaintiff) and identified her mother as Mary Hall; the article also detailed a phone call between Mary Hall and Susie's birth mother, including a description of both families' emotions. Mary and Susie Hall allegedly fled their home to avoid public attention after the publication of the articles and received psychiatric treatment for their emotional and mental distress. Mary and Susie Hall brought suit against Post and the publishing company (defendants), asserting claims for invasion of privacy. The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendants. The appellate court reversed, and the Supreme Court of North Carolina granted the defendants' petition for discretionary review.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Mitchell, J.)

Concurrence (Frye, J.)

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