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Damages for Invading Post Mortal Right of Privacy

Does reporting on TV about a deceased mother give grounds for damages for invasion of privacy? The BGH December 6,2005 re VI ZR 265/04) answered this question.


The son of deceased women sued the TV station SAT 1 for broadcasting his partially unclothed and dead mother. A camera team from SAT 1, having received right of entry from the police, filmed the partially naked corpse of his mother. These pictures were then broadcast on TV during a 30-minute film report "Homicide Department Cologne". His sister, in a psychotic fit, attacked and killed their 80-year-old mother. He alleged damages on the grounds of post mortem invasion of privacy of the mother(!). Additionally, invasion of his own right of privacy.

The Federal Supreme Court dismissed the case. In deviating from case law precedent, which recognizes damages for infringing the intangible right of dignity. Since such right can only be exercised by a living person. This right for damages aims at giving the victim satisfaction for inhuman treatment. The right to recover is only held by a living person since a dead person can no longer collect damages. T

The plaintiff's own right against invasion of his privacy wasn't violated by the TV company. The directly invaded person only can take action against such invasion. Whoever is touched by the remote affects of a privacy invasion of another person usually has no rights to handle this matter. Furthermore, the court held as irrelevant the fact that broadcasting the images lead to exposure of the plaintiff's identity.




Published on the old CMS: 2007/3/29
Read on the old CMS till November 2008: 1,381 reads