Friday, January 29, 2010

Third Circuit Court of Appeals Addresses Invasion of Privacy Suit Against Google Maps

On January 28, 2010, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals issued an Opinion that allowed a Pittsburgh couple's lawsuit to proceed against Google under allegations that agents of the internet company trespassed upon the couple's private property and posted photographs thereby secured of their home and swimming pool on the "street view" portion of Google Maps.

In Boring v. Google Inc., No. 09-2350 (3rd Cir. Jan. 28, 2010)(marked "Not Precedential" by the Court), the plaintiffs claimed that their 1,000-foot private driveway was clearly marked with a "No Trespassing" sign. Nevertheless, a Google driver allegedly disregarded the sign and entered their property in a vehicle equipped with a panoramic camera to take the photos that were uploaded onto Google Maps.

The suit was originally filed in the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas but was removed to federal court by Google. There, a Western District Court Judge granted Google's motion to dismiss the case in which invasion of privacy, negligence, unjust enrichment, and trespass claims were asserted.

On appeal, the Third Circuit upheld most of the District Judge's dismissal but reversed the dismissal of the trespass claim. The trespass claim was remanded to the District Court for further proceedings.

A copy of the Third Circuit's Opinion can be viewed at

Source: Shannon P. Duffy. Article: "Third Circuit Oks Homeowners' Trespass Suit Against Google," The Legal Intelligencer, (Jan. 29, 2010).

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