Tuesday, February 02, 2016

2008 photo of girl with Down syndrome at a baseball game, promoted as an example of "obesity" and "child abuse", leads to lawsuit

A Facebook post has led to a lawsuit for causing severe emotional distress, defamation, and invasion of privacy.  “Dancing with the Stars” celebrity Val Chmerkovskiy is being sued by a 16 year old girl over a picture taken of her in 2008 at a baseball game.  The picture was put into a Facebook post that said “Everything that’s wrong with America” as an attempt to criticize diet-related obesity.  But the girl has Down Syndrome.  The post claimed that a parent’s allowing a kid to become obese was child abuse.

Some of the claims (like invasion of privacy) would be hard to sustain because she was in a public place.

TMZ has a typical news story here.

But CBS News is also a defendant, for posting the picture.  It would appear that the litigation would not be taking place if CBS had not posted it.  The actual picture was taken by a different photographer (also a defendant) and was in a refreshment area.

Lawsuits based on individual social media postings taken at public venues seem to be rare.  But in bars and discos, the expected standard of courtesy has risen in the past few years (since about 2010) because of the possibility of tagging.

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