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Dietz v Finlay Fine Jewelry Case Study

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Dietz v. Finlay Fine Jewelry
1. What were the legal issues in this case? What did the court decide?
Melissa Dittoe Dietz (plaintiff) worked for Finlay Fine Jewelry as a customer service
representative. She gave a customer an unauthorized 10 percent store discount for a mistake she
had made while charging the customers credit card for a jewelry purchase. Security Manager,
Dennis Bake (Bake) learned of Dietz’s actions, considered her actions as being theft and
requested she have an interview with him. During the interview, Dietz felt she had been violated
in ways such as;
Invasion of privacy: Dennis Blake, Security Manager, allegedly disclosed information
about Diet’s credit history to Kathleen Camp (sales manager) and Curt Seufert (security
employee).
False imprisonment: During the interview, Blake demanded that Dietz stay in the
interview room. Dietz was detained and questioned about an unauthorized store discount
and allegedly was further questioned about six pieces of missing jewelry.
Defamation: Dennis Blake allegedly accused Dietz of having a drug or alcohol problem
and suggested that she had pawned the jewelry she had stolen from the store to support
her addiction.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress: Throughout the interview, Blake questioned
Dietz in a very gruff and very intimidating manner.
The trial court initially granted summary judgement in favor of Findlay Fine Jewelry
(defendant) on all four of Dietz’s claims. However, she has filed an appeal with the appellate
court to determine if the trial court erred when it made its decision of summary judgement for the

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defendant. The appellate court affirmed in part, reversed in part, and remanded the trial court for
further proceedings regarding Dietz’s case (Walsh, 2016, p. 650).
2. What was the basis of Dietz’s privacy tort claim? Her infliction of emotional
distress claim? Why were they rejected?
Dietz alleged that Dennis Bake told her he had access to her charge account and disclosed
her credit problems to Camp and Seufert. The general tort invasion of privacy includes four
distinct injuries; intrusion upon seclusion, appropriation of likeness, public disclosure of private
facts, and false-light publicity. Dietz tort would fall under “disclosure of private facts” which
occurs when a person gives “publicly” to a matter that concerns the private life of another, a
matter that would be “highly offensive” to a reasonable person and that is not of legitimate
public concern (Walsh, 2016, p. 651). Most courts adopted the view where communication to a
single person or to a small group of persons is not actionable because the publicity element
requires communication to the public at large or to so many persons that the matter is
substantially certain to become one of public knowledge. The trial court Dietz appeared before
adopted a looser definition of publicity, finding a disclosure actionable if made to a particular
public with a special relationship to the plaintiff and there must be a publicity element (Walsh,
2016, p. 651). The publicity element was missing and there was no evidence that Dietz had a
special relationship with Camp or Seufert, therefore, the trial court did not err, and the
defendants were entitled to summary judgement for invasion of privacy.
The infliction of emotional distress tort has rigorous requirements that must be met. The
conduct at issue must exceed all bounds usually tolerated by a decent society and must cause
mental distress of a very serious kind. Dietz alleged that Bake accused her of shoplifting,
dishonesty, and substance abuse in a very gruff and intimidating manner. However, Bake’s

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Dietz v. Finlay Fine Jewelry 1. What were the legal issues in this case? What did the court decide? Melissa Dittoe Dietz (plaintiff) worked for Finlay Fine Jewelry as a customer service representative. She gave a customer an unauthorized 10 percent store discount for a mistake she had made while charging the customers credit card for a jewelry purchase. Security Manager, Dennis Bake (Bake) learned of Dietz’s actions, considered her actions as being theft and requested she have an interview with him. During the interview, Dietz felt she had been violated in ways such as; Invasion of privacy: Dennis Blake, Security Manager, allegedly disclosed information about Diet’s credit history to Kathleen Camp (sales manager) and Curt Seufert (security employee). False imprisonment: During the interview, Blake demanded that Dietz stay in the interview room. Dietz was detained and questioned about an unauthorized store discount and allegedly was further questioned about six pieces of missing jewelry. Defamation: Dennis Blake allegedly accused Dietz of having a drug or alcohol problem and suggested that she had pawned the jewelry she had stolen from the store to support her addiction. Intenti ...
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