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FORSTER v. MANCHESTER. (03/19/63)

March 19, 1963

FORSTER, APPELLANT,
v.
MANCHESTER.



Appeal, No. 315, Jan. T., 1962, from decree of Court of Common Pleas No. 1 of Philadelphia County, Sept. T., 1960, No. 2433, in case of Isobel Forster, a minor, by her husband, Norman Forster, and Norman Forster in his own right v. Michael J. Manchester. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Sheldon L. Albert, with him James E. Beasley, and Beasley & Ornsteen, for appellants.

Ralph P. Higgins, with him Harper, George, Buchanan and Driver, for appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Cohen, Eagen and O'brien, JJ.

Author: Cohen

[ 410 Pa. Page 193]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE COHEN

The main issues in this case are whether appellee's conduct constitutes an unwarranted invasion of privacy or, alternatively, whether appellee intentionally inflicted severe emotional distress under § 46 of the Restatement of Torts.

On July 30, 1960, plaintiff-appellant, Isobel Forster, was involved in an automobile accident with one Francis Martin. Counsel for appellant notified Martin's insurance carrier, the Guardian Mutual Insurance Company (Guardian), and the Hays Adjustment Bureau (Hays), an independent adjustment bureau retained by Guardian, of his representation of Mrs. Forster. With the knowledge of Guardian, Hays retained defendant-appellee, Michael Manchester, a licensed private detective, to make an "activity report" on appellant.

[ 410 Pa. Page 194]

An "activity report" is an investigation of the subject's daily activities used to ascertain the extent to which the subject has freedom of movement over his limbs. Appellee conducted the surveillance by assigning a team of two men equipped with motion picture cameras to report on the every-day activities and movements of the subject.

The first day that appellee's investigators were observed by appellant was September 15. On that day, from 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m., appellee's investigators conducted a surveillance of the vicinity where appellant resided. When appellant went out in her automobile, they observed her whereabouts by following her in separate cars, keeping in touch with each other by two-way radio. The purpose of this particular assignment was to make a log of the places where appellant stopped. Appellee's investigator Smith*fn1 testified that he normally stayed at least a block behind appellant's car, as he stated, at "what I thought would be a safe distance [so] that the wouldn't observe me." During the course of the day Smith occasionally lost sight of appellant's car in traffic. At one time, after appellant disappeared from Smith's view, she suddenly emerged from traffic and passed by him at a distance of no more than ten or fifteen feet. At that time appellant noticed a camera in Smith's hand.*fn2 A short while later in the same day, Smith had difficulty following appellant's small Volkswagon in traffic and before he realized it his car was almost alongside of appellant's automobile. Recognizing Smith as the man with the camera, she became frightened and attempted to evade him in traffic. Once again during the course of the

[ 410 Pa. Page 195]

    day's surveillance appellant's car passed Smith's automobile, thereby frightening appellant. As a result of being followed by appellee's investigators, appellant became extremely nervous and upset, causing her to have frequent ...


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