Prepare a 1,400- to 1,750-word response to the questions that follow this case study:
Steve recently joined a church. Church doctrine required that members reveal any personal indiscretions to the leaders of the church. Steve disclosed some of his personal indiscretions to the leaders of the church. After his disclosures, these leaders informed Steve that they intended to tell other members of the church about his indiscretions because they thought the church leaders might help him overcome his problems. Steve was dismayed that this personal information might be disclosed. He told the church leaders about his intention to leave the church rather than have his problems disclosed. The church leaders informed him that their next step was to tell the members of the church, his neighbors, and his employer about his problems by using social media, including posting his information on Facebook, Twitter, and the church’s online chatroom.
This case study is an example of the balance between First Amendment rights and freedom of religion. Based on this case study, examine Steve’s rights in terms of libel and the invasion of privacy torts by addressing the following issues and questions.
- Is there precedence for using social media in libel cases?
- Which of the four privacy torts are involved with regard to this case? Is this a case of libel?
- Does the expectation of privacy apply to the facts in the case?
- Discuss the defenses to the tort of libel and the privacy torts regarding Steve’s lawsuit.
- Is there a legal difference in disclosing personal indiscretions to church elders, to members of the church, or to members of the public?