Wednesday, December 6, 2023
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Florida Won’t Recognize False Light Privacy Tort

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CN) - The Florida Supreme Court refused to recognize the tort of false light invasion of privacy, extinguishing a Jewish woman's hope of reviving allegations that her stepson misrepresented her faith in a Jews for Jesus newsletter.

Edith Rapp fought hard to overturn the dismissal of her claims against stepson Bruce Rapp, who shared an alleged account of how he "converted" his stepmother to Jews for Jesus.

"She began to cry," he reported in the newsletter, "and when I asked her if she would like to ask G-d (sic) for forgiveness for her sins and receive Y'Shua (Jesus) she said yes!"

Edith said the newsletter was published on the Internet and seen by one of her relatives. She sued Jews for Jesus for false light invasion of privacy, defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The trial court tossed out the lawsuit and struck several paragraphs from the complaint that were "primarily polemical," including a statement that the religious group told Jews that they could accept Jesus but remain Jewish "in order to fraudulently induce them to join their organization."

Edith amended her complaint twice, with little success. The lower court dismissed all her claims but one, asking the high court whether the tort of false light invasion of privacy is recognized in Florida.

Justice Pariente determined that it's not, because "most injuries capable of being remedied by false light could also be remedied by defamation."

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