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Tichich v. City of Bloomington

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

August 12, 2014

Sarah Kristine Tichich, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Bloomington; City of Cannon Falls; City of Lakeville; City of Maple Grove; City of Marshall; City of Minneapolis; City of Ramsey; City of Richfield; City of Robbinsdale; City of Rosemount; City of St. Anthony; City of Woodbury; Hennepin County; Mille Lacs County; Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board; Ramsey County; Rice County; Sherburne County; Wright County; Michael Campion, in his individual capacity as the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety; Ramona Dohman, in her individual capacity as the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety; John and Jane Does (1-300) acting in their individual capacity as supervisors, officers, deputies, staff, investigators, employees or agents of the other governmental agencies; Department of Public Safety Does (1-30) acting in their individual capacity as officers, supervisors, staff, employees, independent contractors or agents of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety; and Entity Does (1-30) including cities, counties, municipalities, and other entities sited in Minnesota, Defendants.

Kenneth H. Fukuda, Esq., Lorenz F. Fett, Jr., Esq., Sonia L. Miller-Van Oort, Esq., Jonathan A. Strauss, Esq. and Sapientia Law Group PLLC, 12 South Sixth Street, Suite 1242, Minneapolis, MN 55402, counsel for plaintiff.

Jon K. Iverson, Esq., Stephanie A. Angolkar, Esq., Susan M. Tindal, Esq. and Iverson Reuvers Condon, 9321 Ensign Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55438; Toni A. Beitz, Esq., Beth A. Stack, Esq., Daniel D. Kaczor, Esq. and Hennepin County Attorney's Office, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487; Erin E. Benson, Esq., Margaret A. Skelton, Esq., Timothy A. Sullivan, Esq. and Ratwik Roszak & Maloney, P.A., 730 Second Avenue South, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55402; Gregory P. Sautter, Esq. and Office of the Minneapolis City Attorney, 350 South Fifth Street, Room 210, Minneapolis, MN 55415; Ann E. Walther, Esq., Daniel A. Louismet, Esq. and Rice Michels & Walther, LLP, 10 Second Street Northeast, Suite 206, Minneapolis, MN 55413; Kimberly R. Parker, Esq., Robert B. Roche, Esq. and Ramsey County Attorney's Office, 121 Seventh Place East, Suite 4500, St. Paul, MN 55101; Oliver J. Larson, Esq. and Minnesota Attorney General's Office, 445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1800, St. Paul, MN 55101, counsel for defendants.

ORDER

DAVID S. DOTY, District Judge.

This matter is before the court upon the motions to dismiss by defendants[1] and the motions to sever by all defendants except the Commissioner Defendants. Based on a review of the file, record and proceedings herein, and for the following reasons, the court grants the motions to dismiss and denies as moot the motions to sever.

BACKGROUND

This privacy dispute arises out of defendants' access of the motor vehicle record of plaintiff Sarah Kristine Tichich between 2003 and 2012. Compl. ¶ 2. Tichich asserts claims against numerous counties and cities, as well as against the current and former commissioners of the Minnesota Department of Safety (DPS). This case is just one of many nearly identical cases filed in this district, three of which this court previously dismissed. See Potocnik v. Anoka Cnty., No. 13-1103, 2014 WL 683980 (D. Minn. Feb. 21, 2014); Bass v. Anoka Cnty., No. 13-860, 2014 WL 683969 (D. Minn. Feb. 21, 2014); McDonough v. Al's Auto Sales, Inc., No. 13-1889, 2014 WL 683998 (D. Minn. Feb. 21, 2014).

DPS makes drivers' motor vehicle records available to law enforcement officers through a computerized Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) database. Compl. ¶ 48. In 2013, Tichich requested an audit of her DVS motor vehicle record from DPS. Id . ¶ 220. The audit showed that the record had been accessed 210 times from facilities maintained by defendant agencies, counties and cities. See id. ¶ 224; id. Ex. A. The record included her address, photograph, date of birth, weight, height, eye color and driver identification number. Compl. ¶ 141. Tichich alleges that there was no legitimate purpose for each access, and that the Commissioner Defendants "disclosed... [her] [p]rivate [d]ata... by devising and implementing... the DVS database." Id . ¶ 184.

On January 31, 2014, Tichich filed suit, alleging claims (1) under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA), (2) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and (3) for invasion of privacy. Defendants move to dismiss. All defendants except the Commissioner Defendants also move to sever.

DISCUSSION

I. Standard of Review

To survive a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Braden v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. , 588 F.3d 585, 594 (8th Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff [has pleaded] factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 556 (2007)). Although a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, it must raise a right to relief above the speculative level. Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555. "[L]abels and conclusions or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" are not sufficient to state a claim. Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678 (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).

II. DPPA Claims

Tichich first asserts a claim against all defendants for violations of the DPPA. The DPPA provides that "[i]t shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to obtain or disclose personal information, [2] from a motor vehicle record, for any use not permitted under section 2721(b)[3] of this title." 18 U.S.C. § 2722. Under the DPPA, any "person[4] who knowingly obtains, discloses or uses personal information, from a motor vehicle record, for a purpose not permitted under this chapter shall be liable to the individual to whom the ...


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