Michigan Intrusion Law

Intrusion law in Michigan does not differ in any significant way from the law described in the General Elements of an Intrusion Claim section of this guide. See DeMay v. Roberts, 9 N.W. 146 (Mich. 1881) (recognizing the intrusion tort); Duran v. Detroit News, 504 N.W.2d 715 (Mich. Ct. App. 1993) (applying intrusion to the media and laying out the elements). As result, you should follow the general advice outlined in the section on Practical Tips for Avoiding Liability When Gathering Private Information.

The only major difference that distinguishes Michigan's application of intrusion from the general elements applied by other states is that Michigan requires the method of intrusion to be "objectionable", rather than offensive. It is unclear if this makes a practical difference, but it is possible that a court could find conduct to be objectionable, but not necessarily offensive.

In addition, Michigan has clarified that a defendant will not be liable for intrusion if he or she has a legitimate interest in the subject matter. See Saldana v. Kelsey-Hayes, 443 N.W.2d 382, 384 (Mich. Ct. App. 1989). This added defense deals with the second element of the claim that requires that the matter be private. Although there are no reported cases as of yet specifically geared to the media, this defense shows that a plaintiff's privacy is not absolute and can be subject to the legitimate interest of others.


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