Texas Court Cuts Award to Revenge Porn Victim

     (CN) – A Texas woman whose ex-boyfriend uploaded “revenge porn” videos of her masturbating is entitled to damages, a state appeals court ruled.
     Nadia Hussein and Akhil Patel began dating in high school and had an on-and-off relationship for seven years. Religious differences caused problems between them, as Hussein is Muslim and Patel is Hindu.
     While they were dating, Hussein sent topless photos of herself to Patel. She asked him to delete the photos, but he did not.
     Patel also recorded Skype video chats with Hussein in which she undressed and masturbated. According to Hussein, she did not know that Patel was recording the video chats.
     The couple broke up in 2010, but Patel continued to text Hussein more than six months later. He sent her a list of email addresses of people she knew, stating “You know what step two is.”
     “But you can make this all go away and I’ll never bring anything up, and I’ll in fact just delete everything if you just stop ignoring me,” Patel texted.
     At the same time he was sending these texts, Patel called and visited Hussein’s workplace. He also had flowers delivered to her.
     Hussein called the police in March 2012 after Patel’s texts made her think he was discovering information about her activities and purchases. The police warned Patel to stop contacting Hussein, but he did not.
     The videos surfaced on a pornographic website under the title “Pakistani Nadia Houston.” One of the videos was viewed more than 5,000 times.
     Hussein sued Patel in March 2013 for intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, public disclosure of private facts, and intrusion on seclusion.
     “I’m scared of who has seen them,” Hussein testified. “There is no way of me knowing. I feel like I can’t face anyone. It’s humiliating.”
     The trial court ruled in Hussein’s favor and awarded her $500,000.
     On appeal, the 14th District Texas Court of Appeals overturned the verdict on the defamation claim.
     “A jury’s finding of substantial truth precludes liability for a defamation claim,” Justice Sharon McCally wrote. “And, in the absence of liability, the question of damages becomes immaterial.”
     The court also overturned Hussein’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress because her damages were already covered under her other two claims.
     Despite the reduction of Hussein’s award to $345,000, McCally upheld the lower court’s award for past and future mental anguish.
     “We note that the nature of the invasions of privacy here are particularly disturbing and shocking and should give rise to an inference of mental anguish resulting from the threats to Nadia’s reputation,” she wrote.

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