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SA Editions Plon v. Mitterand , Cour de Cassation, JCP 1977. II. 22894, 27.05.1997

Facts: the plaintiffs were M. and Me Mitterand, former President of France. They claimed that the book Le Grand Secret, a biography of Mr. Mitterand published by SA Editions Plon, disclosed personal information without authorization, especially on the health of the President that he wanted to keep secret. The claimed a violation of the right to privacy and a breach of medical confidentiality.

Holding: the Cour de Cassation dismissed the claim based on the invasion of the privacy of M. François. Mitterand but held the author and the SA Editions Plon liable in damages for breach of medical confidentiality and upheld the injunction against distribution of the book

Reasoning: even if some violations of privacy were found and could have given rise to liability under article 9 Code civil, they formed a small part of the book so they could not justify a prohibition of the book as a whole. However, the health matters related to in the book were covered by the medical secret owed to his patient, so the applicants were entitled to damages.

 

 

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