I reached out to someone who runs a niche website two times about a sad personal matter that fits their niche and after being ignored two times I sent an email where I blew up at the individual for ignoring me. Several (niche) celebrities were "collateral damage" in my little explosion. The niche website owner then posted my emails online and embarrassed not only me but the celebrities involved, who somehow know about my emails (maybe she sent screenshots to them)? and the celebrities made an official video to me, angrily talking about what I said. Having a false impression of me now (me at Final Straw VS me at All Other Times) the celebrities now hate me and have released official copyrighted forms of shall we say "entertainment media" disrespecting me specifically, and insulting me and things unique to myself (body type being one specific). This wouldn't have happened without my private Gmails being (screenshotted?) and posted online by this person, so am I legally able to sue her? If so what could damages could I ask for based on what's happened? And am I likely to win my case and what branch of attorney am I looking for with a situation like this? I'd understand if I posted something online and had problems because of it but these were private emails between sender and recipient.

  • What's "your private email"? If you address an email message to someone it becomes theirs. Unless they signed an NDA they can publish it.
    – Greendrake
    Dec 19 '18 at 1:27
  • My thinking: I understand how if I posted something on any social media such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube comment or video, Facebook etc. it's out there for the world to see and even if you delete it literally SECONDS later, someone has likely screenshot your post and now it will be sent all around the internet. But email is private and different from social media, only 2 people involved. I wouldn't call this a "leak" as it happens in politics but this is private whereas me posting in public spaces online is not. And the celebrities and I have suffered damages/penalties due to her actions. Dec 19 '18 at 2:01
  • It will come down to whether her conduct can reasonably described as outrageous, was clearly likely to cause emotional distress severe enough to disturb mental health, or was offensive to a reasonable person. Copyright won't work because you have no damages of the type copyright allows you to recover. (You have my sympathy. It kinds of sucks that we have a world that will judge people for the rest of their lives based on the worst moment of their lives, even when they didn't actually do any real harm to anyone.) Dec 19 '18 at 10:44

At what point did you tell them the correspondence was confidential?

Unless and until you do, it isn’t. Some relationships (e.g. doctor/patient, lawyer/client) default to confidential but most do not. Ever wondered about those standard blurbs at the bottom of corporate emails that mention confidentiality- now you know why they are there.

However, even if you do tell someone something in confidence, that does not make non-confidential information confidential. For example, the name of the president of the United States is not confidential information even if you mark a letter to them as "confidential".

Even if these were confidential you are only entitled to damages. So, what damage have you suffered? At law, hurt feelings and wounded social standing are not "damages" - you have to be able to put a legitimate cash value on them. For example, if your boss fires you because of this, then you've suffered damage. Like defamation cases, breach of confidence cases can end with the plaintiff winning, being awarded $1 and being stuck with the legal fees.

Further, if you defamed these “celebrities” then they can sue you.

  • I didn't defame anyone so I don't have to worry about that. The woman posting my emails resulting in these celebrities anger at me and trouble for all of us except her, is actually more painful to me than a lawsuit. If I want to attach a tag line on my emails from now on, what should it say so that if my emails are displayed publicly or forwarded to further parties and I find out about it, I can sue the original recipient? And since my email was private can they sue HER for posting them online without my knowledge or consent? Dec 19 '18 at 3:47
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    How do those standard blurbs at the bottom of corporate emails work? If someone sends me an unsolicited email with that blurb, why would I have to comply if I did not agree to?
    – Greendrake
    Dec 19 '18 at 5:46
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    @Greendrake suit yourself - you're still wrong though
    – Dale M
    Dec 20 '18 at 9:44
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    @MartinBonner: Social standing can (or at least could) be tangible enough to sound in damages, but the burden of proof is on you. Hurt feelings have never been financially valuable. Dec 20 '18 at 13:05
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    law.stackexchange.com/questions/12081/… @Greendrake FWIW I think DaleM's statement is too absolute and their answer on that question makes a statement of universality that is fatally invalid.
    – Nij
    Dec 26 '18 at 4:52

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