There is an interesting controversy in the information associated with preceding Daily Show”correspondent” Rob Riggle who appears to be in the middle of a divorce that produces the Depp-Heard divorce seem like an amicable split. The current reported discovery by Riggle of a surveillance camera raises a few interesting criminal and tort measurements to a divorce that seems to be snowballing out of control.
Riggle’s estranged spouse Tiffany is staying at the family’s big home with both kids during the divorce. Riggle lately confronted her on $28,000 in emergency cash that was missing from his home office and she refused taking it. He also says that he noticed that she was reporting solitude discussions along with his girlfriend and others.
Riggle said that he decided to make a false flag operation by saying things that were untrue in his home to see if they had been replicated in anonymous texts and emails that he had been receiving. They had been he searched his house. He says that he found a surveillance device hidden in a smoke alert and over 10,000 videos on the camera’s memorycard. Those recordings supposedly include among Tiffany installing the device in addition to sitting on the ground and counting cash that he asserts was the missing $28,000.
First and foremost, this could be a whale of a defamation case, if any of this is false. He’s alleging potentially criminal behavior that could constitute per se defamation under law.
If true, the behavior would constitute both criminal and tort violations. Tiffany could argue that the currency was still part of the joint assets of the union. But if the cash is associated with his business or clearly part of the sole assets or estate, it would clearly constitute a significant felony of theft.
The camera would surely allow for a couple of torts. The first would be determined by if that information had been made public to satisfy the element of the tort of public disclosure of embarrassing private facts:
One who gives publicity to a matter concerning the private life of another is subject to liability on another for invasion of his privacy, if the matter publicized is of a kind that (a) would be highly offensive to a reasonable individual, and (b) isn’t of legitimate concern to the general public.
There is little question concerning that being highly offensive to any reasonable individual. Additionally, even though Riggle is a public figure, most courts are likely to question this as a matter of legitimate public interest in his talks with his girlfriend.
The second tort is clearly based on these facts if proven true: addition upon seclusion.
Under the Second Restatement, taxpayers could sue for violations of the intrusion on seclusion:
652B Intrusion Upon Seclusion
The house could be a portion of the joint property but Riggle’s house was understood as his secluded space, not available to his estranged wife. This looks likely given presence of the girlfriend. Riggle had an expectation of privacy and likely a right to exclude her out of the space. This could be challenged, obviously, when she’s had keys to the house, but she’s accused of secreting surveilling and videotaping her husband.
Again, the surveillance could be highly offensive to a reasonable individual. There is a division on these privacy torts among the nations. Some nations find a breach in the positioning of a camera or other recording device without anyone else visiting or seeing the plaintiff with the device. Watch e.g. Hamberger v. Eastman (N.H. 1964); Hernandez v. Hillsides, Inc. (Cal. 2009). Other states have taken the view that someone else has to really see, hear, or see the plaintiff to state a claim for intrusion upon seclusion; in different words, there has to be acquisition of information regarding the plaintiff.
In cases like this, Tiffany is accused of seeing the videos since she supposedly made reference to personal discussions in the home.
Needless to say, the fee of torts or criminal acts may have great bearing on divorce proceeding and custody decisions. Moreover, because you generally have two years to file a tort actions, Riggle could wait for the division of the property to be redeemed then sue his former spouse for a few of the cash back into the form of compensation. Consequently, her counsel will seek a waiver of liability as part of a settlement agreement — resolving any and all claims of either party.
In order words, this situation could cut across criminal and tort lines at a myriad of various ways. In the end, the divorce is very likely to show Henny Youngman’s point that”you understand why divorces are so expensive? Because they’re worth it.”