United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Brandon T. McDonough, Esq., and Nicholas R. Nowicki, Esq., McDonough & Nowicki PLLC, Minneapolis, MN; Thomas J. Lyons, Esq., Lyons Law Firm, P.A., Vadnais Heights, MN; and Thomas J. Lyons, Jr., Esq., Consumer Justice Center, P.A., Vadnais Heights, MN, on behalf of Plaintiff.
Jon K. Iverson, Esq., and Susan M. Tindal, Esq., Iverson Reuvers Condon, Bloomington, MN, on behalf of Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANN D. MONTGOMERY, District Judge.
On June 25, 2014, the undersigned United States District Judge heard oral argument on Defendants City of Onamia (the "City") and Robert L. Matzke's Motion for Partial Judgment on the Pleadings [Docket No. 99]. Plaintiff Ronald Gordon Smythe opposes the motion. For the reasons stated herein, Defendants' motion is granted.
The allegations underlying this dispute have largely been summarized in a previous order and will not be repeated here. See Order, June 5, 2013 [Docket No. 57]. On December 20, 2012, Smythe filed a pro se Complaint against Matzke and the City. See Compl. [Docket No. 1]. Shortly thereafter, Smythe obtained counsel and also obtained leave to amend the Complaint. Order, June 5, 2013. In short, Smythe alleges he and Matzke have a long and contentious relationship and that Matzke violated the Driver's Privacy Protection Act ("DPPA") by retrieving Smythe's driver's record. In the First Amended Complaint, Smythe alleged three specific instances on which Matzke retrieved Smythe's driver information for illegitimate reasons. See 1st Am. Compl. [Docket No. 58]. The retrievals occurred between December 2009 and May 2011.
Through discovery, Smythe learned of one additional record retrieval conducted by Matzke in July 2009. See Brandon McDonough Decl. [Docket No. 92] Ex. 5. Smythe amended his complaint a second time to allege this retrieval as a DPPA violation. Smythe also included a broader allegation concerning DPPA violations both known and unknown. See 2d Am. Compl. [Docket No. 77] ¶ 270. Thereafter, Smythe learned from the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services division ("DVS") of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety ("DPS") that Matzke had retrieved Smythe's driver records on 30 additional occasions between July 2004 and August 2008. McDonough Decl. Ex. 3.
On May 1, 2014, Defendants filed the present motion for a partial judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Defendants anticipate that Smythe will attempt to pursue liability under the DPPA for all 34 record retrievals identified through discovery. Defendants argue the DPPA's statute of limitations bars the majority of these retrievals.
A. Motion for Judgment on Pleadings Standard
In considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court views "all facts pleaded by the nonmoving party as true and grant all reasonable inferences in favor of that party." Poehl v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. , 528 F.3d 1093, 1096 (8th Cir. 2008). Judgment on the pleadings is appropriate "where no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Faibisch v. Univ. of Minn. , 304 F.3d 797, 803 (8th Cir. 2002). This is the same standard used to resolve a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Ashley Cnty., Ark. v. Pfizer, Inc. , 552 F.3d 659, 665 (8th Cir. 2009).
B. DPPA Statute of Limitations
The DPPA does not set forth a specific statute of limitations, therefore, the general four-year statute of limitations for federal statutes applies. See Rasmusson v. Chisago Cnty., ___ F.Supp.2d. ___, No. 12-632 , 2014 WL 107067, at *11 (D. Minn. Jan. 10, 2014). The general statute of limitations states "a civil action arising under an Act of Congress enacted after the date of the enactment of this ...