Illinois Supreme Court Recognizes Tort Claim of Intrusion Upon Seclusion (Privacy).

The Illinois Supreme Court recently recognized, for the first time, the tort of “intrusion upon seclusion.”  In Lawlor v. North American Corporation of Illinois, the plaintiff (Lawlor) was a successful saleswoman who left her job to join a competitor.  Lawlor’s former employer hired a private investigation agency to determine whether she was contacting customers in violation of her non-compete agreement with the company. The private investigation agency then hired someone who pretended to be Lawlor in order to gain access to her telephone records.

Lawlor sued the company for invasion of privacy through intrusion upon seclusion.  A jury awarded a judgment in favor of Lawlor, which the appellate court later also affirmed.  On further appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court also upheld the judgment, recognizing the tort claim of “intrusion upon seclusion” for the first time. 

In its ruling, the Illinois Supreme Court officially adopted the Restatement (Second) of Torts definition which provides that: “One who intentionally intrudes, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of another or his private affairs or concerns, is subject to liability to the other for invasion of his privacy, if the intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.”

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