Civ. 2e Bull. Civ., 1981 II no 152 Case Société Rusconi v. B
08 July 1981
Translated by:
Tony Weir
Professor B. S. Markesinis

On the sole ground of application for review, first limb:

Given that, according to the decision under attack, upholding the decision at first instance, Mme Biasini, known as Romy Schneider, claimed damages from the Société Rusconi and M. Tombolini, respectively publisher and editor of the Italian language weekly “Eva Express”, for publishing on the occasion of her marriage an article which attributed to her certain observations she never made, deplored certain habits in her acting career, and thereby invaded her private life;

Given that in so far as the claim was founded on article 9 Code civil the judgment below is criticised for awarding her damages whereas the Court of Appeal should not have found that there was any invasion of Mme Biasini’s private life since the main events in the private life of an exceptionally famous film star naturally have a public and social quality which makes them indistinguishable from the public life of the artist, even if presented dramatically and in great detail, and that the article in question did no more than inform the public of an event in the social life of the artist, setting her second marriage in the context of her previous life and confirming the happy expectation of her second husband’s child;

But given that the judgment, supported by the reasons given below and by reasons of its own, found that in the passages cited the article in question did not merely state facts already public but discussed the supposed feelings of Mme Biasini before and after her second marriage and offered information about the child she was expecting, findings from which it was appropriate for the Court of Appeal to conclude that there had been a failure to respect her private life;

From which it follows that the ground of application for review is unfounded;

On the second limb:

Given that in so far as the claim was based on article 1382 Code civil the judgment awarding damages is criticised for reversing the burden of proof by exempting Mme Biasini, supposedly the victim of the defendants’ faulty conduct, from the need to show that the interview about her second marriage was inaccurately reported and that her conduct during the filming was not as reported in the article;

But given that the Court of Appeal was acting within its unreviewable powers of judgement when it held—a holding supported by reasons of its own as well as those of the court below -- that there was no proof of the accuracy either of the deplorable views arbitrarily attributed to Mme Biasini in what purported to be an actual interview or of a matter arising from the professional life of the actress, maliciously reported, so that it could well conclude, without incurring the criticisms made, that the Société Rusconi and M. Tombolini were at fault;

From which it follows that this ground of application for review cannot be accepted.

For these reasons DISMISSES the application for review of the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Paris of 21 March 1980.

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