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Miller v. National Broadcasting Co.

187 Cal. App. 3d 1463, 232 Cal. Rptr. 668 (1986)

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Miller v. National Broadcasting Co.

California Court of Appeal

187 Cal. App. 3d 1463, 232 Cal. Rptr. 668 (1986)

Facts

Ruben Norte (defendant) was a news producer employed by National Broadcasting Co. (NBC) (defendant). Norte was assigned to produce a minidocumentary series on firefighters and paramedics. Therefore, Norte and his film crew shadowed a paramedic unit and recorded the unit’s emergency responses. On October 30, 1979, the unit responded to a call from Brownie Miller (plaintiff) that her husband, Dave Miller, had collapsed from a heart attack. Norte and his crew followed paramedics into the home without permission and recorded attempts to save Dave’s life. However, Dave ultimately passed later that evening. On November 19, NBC aired clips of Norte’s attempted resuscitation on the nightly news. Dave and Brownie’s daughter, Marlene Miller Belloni (plaintiff), contacted Norte and stated that she believed the man in the clip to be her father. Norte apologized but took no action to pull the clip, which was subsequently used in commercial promotions for the news. As a result, Brownie and Marlene filed suit against Norte, NBC, and the City of Los Angeles (defendants), alleging trespass, invasion of privacy, and infliction of emotional distress. After discovery was complete, the trial court granted NBC, Norte, and the city’s motion for summary judgment. Brownie and Marlene appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hanson, J.)

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