(CN) – A woman whose extramarital affair was publicized on MySpace.com cannot collect damages because she can’t pinpoint who created the Web page, the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Plaintiff Candice Yath went to a clinic in 2006 and discovered that she had a sexually transmitted disease.
Clinic employee Navy Tek, who is related to Yath’s husband, saw Yath at the clinic and later accessed her medical files.
Tek revealed Yath’s disease and affair to another employee, Net Phat, who passed the information around. Eventually, Yath’s estranged husband learned the news, and Tek was fired for violating privacy laws and hospital policy.
The information about Yath then appeared on MySpace.com under the name “Rotten Candy.”
The page revealed the disease and affair, and claimed that Yath was addicted to plastic surgery. The page listed six “friends,” so at least that many people viewed the page.
The district court ruled for Tek and the clinic on Yath’s invasion of privacy claim, reasoning that the Internet posting did not satisfy the publicity requirement of the statute.
On appeal, Judge Ross ruled that the lower court used the wrong standard to determine what constitutes publicity.
“Like the temporary posting of information in a shop window,” Ross wrote, “the MySpace.com webpage put the information in view of any member of the public – in large or small numbers – who happened by. The number of actual viewers is irrelevant.”
However, Yath did not prove that the clinic or Phat had anything to do with the creation of the MySpace page, the court ruled.
“Because Yath failed to produce any evidence on an essential element of her claim – specifically, that any of the defendants surviving on appeal were involved in creating or sustaining the disparaging MySpace.com webpage – her invasion of privacy claim fails,” Ross ruled.