Are You Trespassing Taking Photos?



"What about trespassing?" "Am I going to commit a crime if I go on someone's property to take photographs?" Presumably, you had authority to be on the property in the first place because it was open to the public, such as an apartment house or a store. You do not need permission to walk onto that property again. You don't need to ask the manager. It is true that they may have the right to refuse you an opportunity to take photographs, but that right is not absolute.

You have the right to take photographs of anything on their property at any time convenient to them if you serve the proper documents under Court Rules of Discovery. If you haven't yet initiated a lawsuit, you are premature in the exercise of your right. However, were you to serve those documents and enter their property and take photographs, they would have no right to object. In fact, in that case they would have the obligation to cooperate with you and make the scene available for you to photograph it. Since you have the absolute right in a lawsuit context, ask them if they want you to file a lawsuit just so you can take photos, or would they prefer that you continue working to resolve your claim amicably and, therefore, let you photograph now. Ask them what is the possible difference?

There are three ways to go about this. If you have an attorney, the attorney will eventually make a demand for discovery for photographs. He will hire a photographer and you will pay his fee. Why spend the bucks?

Since most of you will be doing this yourselves, with the assistance of friends, there are two other ways you can handle photographs.

The easiest and most efficient way is simply to return to the scene with your friend and have her take photographs or witness you taking the photographs. If it is an apartment complex, just walk up to the stairs that collapsed or whatever, and take the photos. Leave when you are done. Do the same in a store. Walk to the scene where you were. Put something on the floor on the place where you slipped and take photos of the banners around that distracted your eye and the proximity of the vegetative matter to the salad bar island, etc. When you are done, leave the store.

If you are asked to leave during one of these photo shoots, you can certainly cooperate with the manager but you can be prepared by bringing a letter regarding photographs to hand to him. Use our Letter to Manager re Discovery Photographs. This letter notifies him of your right to discovery under the Rules of Civil Procedure, and requests that he cooperate without the need for litigation.

If the manager stops you before you even get to the scene and asks you to leave, you can hand him the letter. If he still asks you not to take photographs, you don't need to leave but at least put away your camera. You can then send our Premises Discovery Demand Letter - PhotographsMembers onlyMembers only. This will sometimes work because the adjuster knows that you are aware of the Rules of Civil Procedure and your rights thereunder and that, if they do not cooperate with the Rules, they are likely to be involved with litigation.