Privacy Rights When Wedding Banquet Hall Gives Out Private Information?

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“We held a wedding reception at a private banquet center on October 28th (Halloween night). During the evening, we endured costumed (halloween) guests crashing the party. We never received any assistance from this banquet hall to stop them from running through our private party, dancing on our dance floor. The groom asked these individuals on four occasions to stop. On the fourth request, one costumed individual shouted out â€?What the f*** are you going to do about it?“ At this time, the groom was angered and told four costumed individuals that he and his buddies would â€?beat the —- out of them.“

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

The following Monday I receive a call from a major in the military that four of his students were threatened. I asked this major how did he receive my cell phone and unlisted home phone number. He replied the banquet employees (who had my contract) gave this out to him. When contacting this hall, the one lady said “I gave your address, my assistant must have given out your telephone numbers.”

I then contacted the president and told him about the situation and stated that they violated my civil rights and privacy by giving out information without my knowledge, consent or approval – they seem to not care.

Are there any laws protecting the privacy of an individual from this type of situation? Do I have any legal grounds to stand on for this type personal violation?�

Let me get this straight? Major Mommy called to scold you because the bad man yelled at his precious babies, who happened to be invading territory where they were unwanted? If this is the face of our military leadership today, the situation in Iraq is starting to make a lot more sense!

Seriously though, there are no specific privacy laws that I’m aware of that would protect your information in this exact situation. In the United States, there are very few privacy protections that cut across all situations. Instead, we have a sector-by-sector approach to privacy regulation. So, for example, if your information had been given out by another entity, such as a telephone company, a bank, a hospital, a school, a government agency, or even a video rental store(!), then you might have legal recourse against the party who disclosed your information. But I’m not aware of a law that covers banquet halls.

There are, however, laws that have been a acknowledged by courts but not necessarily written into law. These “common lawâ€? protections aren’t granted by legislatures, but they have been enforced for centuries by the courts and are some of the most powerful precedents in our legal system. There are several privacy-related common law protections, including a very general one called the tort of “disclosure of private facts.”

The tort of “disclosure” recognizes that making public certain facts about a person can cause them harm. For example, disclosures about someone’s health status, financial records, personal correspondence, and other kinds of sensitive personal information can cause harm if made public.

While I’m not sure that simply giving out your address and phone number to Major Tattletale rises to the level of something for which a court would sanction the banquet hall, if added to an array of other complaints, you may well be able to sue (or negotiate) your way to a refund of some of your banquet hall rental costs.

An aggressive lawyer in your area may be able to construct a legal action against the banquet hall operators for failure to maintain proper security and crowd control at your event, causing you harm in the form of an inability to enjoy your event in solitude, and in breach of their contract to provide you with uninterrupted use of the space for the specified time. You could also allege that your privacy was breached, in the form of disclosure of your information by their staff. Taken together, the banquet hall may well knock a few bucks off your bill.

Recommended reading (click on the picture for details):
Internet Privacy for Dummies



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Author: Ray Everett-Church, Esq.

Ray Everett-Church is a privacy and security consultant with PrivacyClue LLC and is co-author of "Internet Privacy for Dummies"

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