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Virgil v. Time, Inc.

527 F.2d 1122 (1975)

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Virgil v. Time, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

527 F.2d 1122 (1975)

Facts

Michael S. Virgil (plaintiff) was a body surfer in California. In 1969 and 1970, Thomas Curry Kirkpatrick—a writer for Sports Illustrated magazine (the magazine), which was owned by Time Incorporated (defendant)—interviewed and had photos taken of Kirkpatrick and other body surfers for an article about the sport of body surfing to be published in the magazine. At the time he was interviewed and photographed, Virgil knew that the information he provided would be published, but during a follow-up interview and before the information or photos were published, Virgil indicated that he did not want to be mentioned in the article because he did not want any details of his private life unrelated to body surfing to be published. Nonetheless, the article was subsequently published and included information about Virgil regarding both body surfing and Virgil’s private life unrelated to surfing. Virgil filed suit against Time for public disclosure of private facts, asserting that, although Virgil had disclosed information to Kirkpatrick knowing it was intended for publication, Virgil revoked his consent when he learned the publication would include private facts. Time argued that, because Virgil disclosed the information to Kirkpatrick knowing it would be published, the information became public facts based on that disclosure. Time further argued that, because the facts published about Virgil were true, the information was of public interest and thus that the publication was privileged under the First Amendment. Time filed a motion for summary judgment, but the district court denied the motion. Time appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Merrill, J.)

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