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Kerby v. Hal Roach Studios

53 Cal. App. 2d 207, 127 P.2d 577 (1942)

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Kerby v. Hal Roach Studios

California Court of Appeals

53 Cal. App. 2d 207, 127 P.2d 577 (1942)

Facts

Marion Kerby (plaintiff) was an actress and singer. In 1939, Hal Roach Studios (Hal Roach) (defendant) produced and exhibited a fictional motion picture (the movie) of which one of the main characters was a singer with the same first and last name as Kerby (the character). As an advertisement for the movie, Hal Roach mailed copies of a handwritten letter to 1,000 men. The letter was arguably sexually suggestive and was signed with Kerby’s first and last name. Furthermore, the letter did not mention the movie or otherwise indicate that it was an advertisement. Kerby did not consent to the letter. Kerby filed suit in a California court for invasion of privacy, asserting that the letter had caused Kerby mental anguish and harmed her reputation. Hal Roach argued that it had not intended to implicate Kerby with the letter and that the letter was not sexually suggestive. The court entered a judgment of nonsuit, and Kerby appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Shaw, J.)

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