Ignat v. Yum! Brands, Inc., 214 Cal. App. 4th 808 (2013)

Melissa Ignat, who was employed in the Yum Real Estate Title Department, suffered from bipolar disorder. In connection with an absence related to her bipolar disorder, Ignat's supervisor "told everyone in the department that Ignat was bipolar." After she returned to work, Ignat's coworkers avoided and shunned her, and one of them asked the supervisor if Ignat was likely to "go postal" at work. The trial court dismissed Ignat's claim for invasion of privacy by public disclosure of private facts because there was no evidence of a writing disclosing the private facts. The Court of Appeal reversed the summary judgment that had been granted in defendants' favor, holding that "limiting liability for public disclosure of private facts to those recorded in a writing is contrary to the tort's purpose, which has been since its inception to allow a person to control the kind of information about himself made available to the public." The Court further held that alleging a violation of a person's common-law right to privacy is not the equivalent of alleging a violation of the constitutional right to privacy and, therefore, the trial court had properly refused to consider Ignat's arguments with respect to the latter theory of liability (which was not pled).