If my parents opened a letter addressed to me and I am 18 years old, canI sue them for violating my privacy?

UPDATED: Jan 7, 2012

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If my parents opened a letter addressed to me and I am 18 years old, canI sue them for violating my privacy?

I do not live in their household anymore.

Asked on January 7, 2012 under Personal Injury, Pennsylvania


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Here is where we begin an analysis of technical law and of course, the issue of morals and whether something is the exact reason behind the intent of the law. While privacy in mail matters is serious, the issue of whether you can sue and win against your parents largely depends on a number of factors. If you lived at this home at one point and your parents opened your mail thinking it was theirs, I don't believe a court is going to assert any liiability against them for the simple act of opening because the intent behind the law is not there. The simple act of opening your mail may not be in and of itself sufficient to sustain a lawsuit regarding an invasion of privacy. Factors brought forward by their attorney, by them or the court will include such things as what was the mail, did they do anything with it to hurt you or steal your identity or worse or did they simply return it to you after it was opened? The scenario would be different and the outcome would most likely be different if we were talking about a neighbor taking your mail, taking money belonging to you, or using your credit card statement to purchase items, for example.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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