Massachusetts Intrusion Law

Massachusetts courts have not formerly adopted a common law claim for intrusion. Instead, Massachusetts has a statute that defines intrusion as an "unreasonable, substantial or serious interference with privacy." M.G.L. c. 214, Section 1B. Although the courts in Massachusetts formerly use the Massachusetts statute as their guide for intrusion claims, they do look to the general rule outlined in the Restatement to evaluate an intrusion claim. See Schlesinger v. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc., 567 N.E.2d 912, 915 (1991).  As result, you should follow the general advice outlined in the section on Practical Tips for Avoiding Liability When Gathering Private Information.

In addition to gaining explicit consent from the person you wish to photograph or record, Massachusetts courts have extended this consent to other individuals under certain circumstances.  For example, in Bevis v. United States, 971 F.2d 744 (unreported), a hospital employee escorted a photographer though the facility and gave permission for the photographer to take pictures. Although patients did not specifically give consent to the photographer, the court held that a claim for intrusion could not succeed because the consent from the hospital extended to its patients.



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