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Strickler v. National Broadcasting Co.
United States District Court for the Southern District of California
167 F. Supp. 68 (1958)
In 1956, Kenneth D. Strickler (plaintiff), a US Navy commander and resident of California, was on a commercial flight that was forced to make an emergency landing. In 1957, National Broadcasting Company (NBC) (defendant) aired a television show in California and several other states that depicted Strickler’s experience during the emergency landing. The show was a dramatization and changed some of the details related to Strickler, his appearance, and his actions. Strickler filed suit against NBC for invasion of privacy, asserting, in part, that the show placed Strickler in a false light and had caused Strickler mental anguish as a result. To establish an invasion-of-privacy claim, a plaintiff must show that the publication would offend the average person. NBC moved to dismiss, arguing that whether the show would offend the average person was a question of law and that the court should find that NBC’s depiction of Strickler would not offend the average person as a matter of law.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Westover, J.)
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