One afternoon, Delia, a family historian, decided to rummage around her uncle Al’s attic. She came across a locked trunk that she recognized as having belonged to her grandmother. Delia asked Al if she could see what was in the trunk. Al, knowing of his favorite niece’s obsession with genealogy, said, “Sure. Help yourself to anything in it.” Al, the older of two brothers, had been his mother’s executor, but had not bothered to look into the trunk.
Delia found many of her grandmother’s things in the trunk, but what most interested her was a diary her grandmother had kept for many years. Delia took the diary and began to read it.
At one point, Delia’s grandmother had written:
My sons have caused me nothing but woe. Al is a thief and a liar. The only reason I named him my executor is that his brother Bert [Delia's father] is worse. Bert’s wife, Catherine, is a sl**. I’m sure she had an affair–Delia is not Bert’s natural-born daughter.
Delia was devastated by what she read. She had always suspected that Bert was not her real father. Now she thought she knew the truth. [In fact, Bert and Catherine had adopted Delia. Both were faithful to their marriage vows].
Angry that this secret had been kept from her, Delia published this portion of her grandmother’s diary on her blog for an edition of the Carnival of Genealogy on “Uncovered Family Secrets.”
When Delia’s uncle and parents discovered the publication of the diary, they were outraged. Al and Bert are now suing Delia for copyright infringement. Al, Bert, and Catherine are all suing Delia for defamation and invasion of privacy.
Discuss the viability of the claims against Delia.
October 24, 2007 Wednesday at 7:14 pm