Intrusion law in Ohio does not differ in any significant way from the law described in the General Elements of an Intrusion Claim section of this guide. See Sustin v. Fee, 431 N.E.2d 992, 993-94 (Ohio 1982). As result, you should follow the general advice outlined in the section on Practical Tips for Avoiding Liability When Gathering Private Information.
In addition, Ohio has gone further with the first element in stating that the intrusive conduct must be intentional. Negligent intrusion is not sufficient. See Filotei v. Booth Broad. Co., 1981 Ohio App. LEXIS 10461 at *6. At least one Ohio court has also noted that intrusion includes the making of persistent and unwanted telephone calls. See Clark v. Clark, 2005-Ohio-5252 (Ohio Ct. App. 2005).
Practical Tips for Avoiding Liability When Gathering Private Information
While you can't always eliminate your legal risks when gathering news or information, there are a number of ways you can minimize your risk of being on the receiving end of an intrusion lawsuit. See the section on Practical Tips for Avoiding Liability When Gathering Private Information for general advice on minimizing your risks. In Ohio, you should also consider:
- At least one court has held that newsworthy reporting is immune from an intrusion claim. See McLin v. Dayton Newspapers, 17 Media L. Rep. 1077 (Ohio Mun. Ct. 1989)
- While consent is generally a defense against an intrusion claim, an Ohio court has held that a contract in which a plaintiff waived all privacy claims against the defendant, to whom he owed a debt, was not enforceable because it was against public policy to waive all such claims. See King v. Cashland, 2000 Ohio App. LEXIS 3943.
- Be cautious in a "ride-along" situation. A Federal District Court found that media defendants could be liable for trespass for entering a home even though they had the consent of the police officers they were accompanying. See Bartlett v. Outlet Broadcasting, 22 F.Supp.2d 726 (S.D. Ohio 1997).