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Metcalfe v. Priebe

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 10, 2014

Dustin Brock Metcalfe, Plaintiff,
Ryan Priebe, et al., Defendants.

Brandon T. McDonough, Nicholas R. Nowicki, McDonough & Nowicki PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Chad R. Reichwald, Reichwald Law Firm PLLC, Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Plaintiff,

Jon K. Iverson, Susan M. Tindal, Stephanie A. Angolkar, Iverson Reuvers Condon, Bloomington, Minnestoa, for Defendants Ryan Priebe and City of Saint Cloud, Cheri M. Sisk, City of Saint Paul Attorney's Office, Saint Paul, Minnesota, for Defendants Zane Koeger and City of Saint Paul,

Kent D. Marshall, Marshall Law Office, Barrett, Minnesota, Stephen F. Rufer, Pemberton Sorlie Rufer & Kershner, Fergus Falls, Minnesota, for Defendant Genevie White.


RICHARD H. KYLE, District Judge.


In this action, Dustin Brock Metcalfe ("Metcalfe") alleges that Ryan Priebe ("Priebe"), Zane Koeger ("Koeger"), and Genevie White ("White") violated his rights under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act ("DPPA"), 18 U.S.C. §§ 2721-2725, by accessing his driver's license information from the Minnesota Driver and Vehicle Services ("DVS") database for an impermissible purpose. He further alleges that the cities of Saint Cloud ("Saint Cloud") and Saint Paul ("Saint Paul") are vicariously liable for the acts of their employees Priebe and Koeger, respectively. All Defendants now move for summary judgment, while Metcalfe cross-moves for summary judgment against White, Koeger, and Saint Paul. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motions will be granted and Metcalfe's Motions will be denied.


Metcalfe lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota. (Compl. ¶ 4.) In 2009, he had a son with "Jane Doe."[1] (Id. ¶¶ 32-33.) Their relationship ended in April 2010, and they subsequently had a contentious custody fight and numerous related contacts with the legal system. The Defendants' accesses of Metcalfe's personal information from the DVS database were related to or happened around the time of these events.

Beginning in early 2010, and continuing through 2011, White-who is Doe's mother and a deputy court administrator in Grant County, Minnesota-accessed Metcalfe's personal information from the DVS database five times. (Nowicki Decl., Ex. 1, at 17; White Dep. 12.) She knew her daughter felt threatened by Metcalfe. (White Dep. 17.) She did not explain her motive for each instance she accessed his personal information, but she testified that, generally, she accessed it because

"there was upcoming litigation going to be happening, grave concerns. At one point, some of the dates, there was a domestic abuse no-contact order out there in a criminal file, a harassment restraining order. [I was v]ery, very concerned for our safety and wanted to be very aware, if he was close, to enforce that order, to get help immediately for our safety, my family's safety. I was advised that we were possibly in much danger by several people, including attorneys, employers at other places."

(Id. 23.) She further explained she accessed the information for "the upcoming litigation, orders, court orders that were in effect, very serious criminal, domestic abuse no-contact orders, harassment restraining orders. Very serious matters that I needed to be able to enforce for my safety and my family's safety." (Id. 24.) She testified that "[t]he purpose was in connection with the civil and criminal proceedings in State court, including but not limited to the enforcement of the Court's Orders." (Nowicki Decl., Ex. 1, at 15.) White never talked to anyone about the information she obtained from Metcalfe's DVS records. (White Dep. 25.)

Shortly after White began looking up Metcalfe's personal information, Priebe, a Saint Cloud police officer, responded to two calls from Doe about Metcalfe. (Priebe Dep. 32-33.) About a month later, on July 2, 2010, he was present when Metcalfe was arrested for (and later convicted of) stalking and harassing Doe. (Priebe Aff. ¶ 5).[2] Around this time, Priebe talked to a police officer from Saint Paul about Metcalfe but could not recollect who it was. (Priebe Dep. 7-8.)

On July 1, 2010, the day before Metcalfe was arrested in Saint Cloud, Koeger, a Saint Paul police officer, pulled him over for speeding. (Koeger Aff., Ex. B, at 3.) During the stop, Metcalfe yelled at Koeger, and Koeger called Metcalfe an ass. (Id., Ex. A.) Koeger took the rare step of writing an incident report for the traffic stop because of its aggressive and hostile tone. (Id. ¶ 4.) In addition, he notified his sergeant about his safety concerns arising from the incident, later explaining he "believed Metcalfe to be dangerous to [his] safety and the safety of others due to [Metcalfe's] statement and [Metcalfe's] actions on this day." (Id., Ex. B, at 1.)

A few months later, on September 7, 2010, Koeger believed he saw Metcalfe's vehicle in his neighborhood, which he took as "a serious threat to [his] safety and that of [his] family members stemming from [his] official duties as an Officer." (Koeger Dep. 29; Koeger Aff., Ex. B, at 1.) The next day, Koeger put together a packet of information about Metcalfe. (Koeger Dep. 33-34.) He carried the packet in his personal bag until fall 2012. (Id. 38-39.) He also learned about Metcalfe's arrest in Saint Cloud and called ...

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