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Karasov v. Caplan Law Firm, P.A.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

January 28, 2015

Patricia Mae Kerr Karasov, Plaintiff,
v.
Caplan Law Firm, P.A.; City of Bloomington; City of Brooklyn Center; City of Brooklyn Park; City of Burnsville; City of Dayton; Earl Street Auto Sales; City of Eden Prairie; City of Edina; Freeborn County; City of Golden Valley; Hennepin County; City of Hopkins; Lake Area Police Department; City of Maple Grove; Metropolitan Council; Mille Lacs County; City of Minneapolis; City of Monticello; City of Plymouth, City of Prior Lake; Ramsey County; Rice County; City of Richfield; City of Roseville; City of St. Louis Park; City of St. Paul; Stearns County; Steele County; Washington County; City of Wayzata; 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 (1-50) including cities, counties, municipalities, and other entities sited in Minnesota, Defendants

As Amended February 3, 2015.

For Plaintiff: Lorenz F. Fett, Jr., Sonia L. Miller-Van Oort, and Jonathan A. Strauss, Sapientia Law Group PLLC, Minneapolis, MN.

For Defendant Caplan Law Firm, P.A.: Adam R. Strauss and William R. Skolnick, Skolnick & Schiff, P.A., Minneapolis, MN.

For Defendants City of Bloomington, City of Brooklyn Center, City of Brooklyn Park, City of Burnsville, City of Dayton, City of Eden Prairie, City of Golden Valley, City of Hopkins, Lakes Area Police Department, City of Maple Grove, City of Monticello, City of Plymouth, City of Prior Lake, City of Richfield, City of Roseville, City of St. Louis Park, and City of Wayzata: Jon K. Iverson, Stephanie A. Angolkar, and Susan M. Tindal, Iverson Reuvers Condon, Bloomington, MN.

For Defendant City of Edina: Mark P. Hodkinson, Bassford Remele, PA, Minneapolis, MN.

For Defendants Freeborn County, Mille Lacs County, Rice County, Stearns County, Steele County, and Washington County: Margaret A. Skelton, Timothy A. Sullivan, and Erin E. Benson, Ratwik Roszak & Maloney, Minneapolis, MN.

For Defendant Hennepin County: Toni A. Beitz, Beth A. Stack, and Daniel D. Kaczor, Hennepin County Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN.

For Defendant Metropolitan Council: Daniel L. Abelson, Metropolitan Council, St. Paul, MN.

For Defendant City of Minneapolis: Tracey N. Fussy, Minneapolis City Attorney's Office, Minneapolis, MN.

For Defendant Ramsey County: C. David Dietz, Kinberly R. Parker, and Robert B. Roche, Ramsey County Attorney's Office, St. Paul, MN.

For Defendant City of St. Paul: Adam M. Niblick, Saint Paul City Attorney's Office, St. Paul, MN.

For Defendants Michael Campion and Ramona Dohman: Oliver J. Larson, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, St. Paul, MN.

AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SUSAN RICHARD NELSON, United States District Court Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on the following motions: (1) Defendant Hennepin County's Motion to Dismiss and/or to Sever [Doc. No. 27]; (2) Defendant City of St. Paul's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 32]; (3) Defendant City of Minneapolis' Motion to Dismiss or for Severance [Doc. No. 37]; (4) Defendant Metropolitan Council's Motion to Dismiss or to Sever [Doc. No. 46]; (5) Defendants City of Bloomington, City of Brooklyn Center, City of Brooklyn Park, City of Burnsville, City of Dayton, City of Eden Prairie, City of Golden Valley, City of Hopkins, City of Maple Grove, City of Monticello, City of Plymouth, City of Prior Lake, City of Richfield, City of Roseville, City of St. Louis Park, City of Wayzata, and Lakes Area Police Department's Motion to Dismiss and/or to Sever [Doc. No. 57]; (6) Defendants Freeborn County, Mille Lacs County, Rice County, Stearns County, Steele County, and Washington County's Motion to Dismiss and/or to Sever [Doc. No. 63]; (7) Defendant Ramsey County's Motion to Dismiss or for Severance [Doc. No. 67]; (8) Defendant City of Edina's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and/or to Sever [Doc. No. 83]; and (9) Defendant Commissioners Ramona Dohman and Michael Campion's Motion to Dismiss [Doc. No. 73]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part these motions.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Patricia Mae Kerr Karasov (" Plaintiff" or " Karasov" ) filed this action on May 13, 2014, against the municipal, county, and individual Defendants listed above. (See Compl. [Doc. No. 1].) Plaintiff asserts a single claim in her Complaint against all Defendants (" Count I" ). In Count I, Plaintiff states a claim under the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (" DPPA" ), 18 U.S.C. § 2721, et seq., against all Defendants. (Id. ¶ ¶ 331-53.)

Plaintiff's claims are centered on allegations that law enforcement personnel viewed her private driver's license information in the Minnesota Department of Vehicle Services (" DVS" ) driver's license database and the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (" BCA" ) database [collectively " DPS database" ] without a legitimate purpose. (See id. ¶ ¶ 1-3.) Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that law enforcement personnel may have accessed her personal information for purely personal reasons because of their interest in her prior role as a Hennepin County District Court Judge. (See id. ¶ ¶ 43-175.) Karasov served as a Hennepin County District Court Judge from 1995 until 2013, when she retired. (Id. ¶ 24.)

Plaintiff alleges that during her tenure as a state court judge, she was the subject of an investigation initiated by the judicial branch of the State of Minnesota, because although state court judges are required to reside within the county for which they serve, Karasov " allegedly resid[ed] outside of Hennepin County." (Id. ¶ ¶ 25, 28.) The investigation took place from 2010 through 2011. (Id.) As a result of this investigation, a " widely publicized disciplinary proceeding" took place in " early January 2011." (Id. ¶ 26.) On November 16, 2011, at the conclusion of this proceeding, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that Karasov had committed judicial misconduct by residing outside of Hennepin County, while she served as a Hennepin County judge. (Id. ¶ 27.) Karasov was subsequently " censured and suspended without pay for six months." (Id.)

In 2013, Plaintiff contacted Kim Jacobson at the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (" DPS" ) and requested an audit of the number of times her name was run on the DPS database. (Id. ¶ 266.) On April 16, 2013, Jacobson provided the results of the audit to Karasov. (Id. ¶ 268.) Karasov alleges that she learned from the audit results that officers from various departments and agencies accessed her driver's license information over 200 times between 2003 and 2011. (Id. ¶ 270; see Compl., Ex. A. [Doc. No. 1-1].) Karasov claims that the audit results " severely disturbed" her, and " she had the feeling [that] she was being stalked." (Compl. ¶ 271 [Doc. No. 1].) Plaintiff was particularly upset to " learn that users from different agencies were obtaining her records on the same day and times, indicating some sort of discussion or other concert of activity about her between different agencies." (Id. ¶ 273.)

For example, " the officers from the City of Dayton and Stearns County obtained Karasov's private data [allegedly] within one hour of each other on January 4, 2011. [Additionally,] [o]n the same day, officers from the City of Minneapolis also obtained her data." (Id. ¶ 181.) On January 5, 2011, " [o]fficers from Otter Tail County, [the City of] Dayton, Ramsey County, the Department of Natural Resources [" DNR" ], [the City of] Burnsville, and [the City of] Minneapolis also [allegedly] obtained her information." (Id. ¶ 182.) On January 6, 2011, " officers from [the City of] St. Paul, Steele County, [the City of] Minneapolis, Hennepin County, and Freeborn County all [allegedly] obtained Karasov's information." (Id. ¶ 183.) This apparent concert of activity began as early as 2010. On October 13, 2010 " officers from the Cit[ies] of Roseville and Minneapolis [allegedly] obtained her data. [And] [o]n October 7, [2010] officers from the City of Minneapolis and the DNR also [allegedly] obtained her data." (Id. ¶ 186.)

The chart below itemizes the number of lookups allegedly made by each Defendant for a purpose not permitted under the DPPA:

Entity

Number of times accessed

Caplan Law Firm

1 (id. ¶ 43.)

City of Bloomington

5 (id. ¶ 47.)

City of Brooklyn Center

7 (id. ¶ 51.)

City of Brooklyn Park

9 (id. ¶ 55.)

City of Burnsville

3 (id. ¶ 59.)

City of Dayton

9 (id. ¶ 63.)

City of Eden Prairie

1 (id. ¶ 67.)

City of Edina

8 (id. ¶ 71.)

City of Golden Valley

3 (id. ¶ 75.)

City of Hopkins

1 (id. ¶ 95.)

City of Maple Grove

2 (id. ¶ 99.)

City of Minneapolis

67 (id. ¶ 107.)

City of Minnetonka

6 (id. ¶ 111.)

City of Monticello

1 (id. ¶ 115.)

City of Plymouth

6 (id. ¶ 123.)

City of Prior Lake

4 (id. ¶ 127.)

City of Richfield

1 (id. ¶ 139.)

City of Roseville

1 (id. ¶ 143.)

City of St. Louis Park[1]

1 (id. ¶ 147.)

City of St. Paul

1 (id. ¶ 151.)

City of Wayzata

2 (id. ¶ 167.)

Hennepin County

57 (id. ¶ ¶ 79, 83, 87, 91.)

Mille Lacs County

1 (id. ¶ 103.)

Otter Tail County[2]

1 (id. ¶ 119.)

Ramsey County

6 (id. ¶ 131.)

Rice County

1 (id. ¶ 135.)

Stearns County

2 (id. ¶ 155.)

Steele County

4 (id. ¶ 159.)

Washington County

1 (id. ¶ 163.)

Freeborn County

1 (Compl., Ex. A at 4 [Doc. No. 1-1].)

Metropolitan Council

1 (id. at 8.)

Lakes Area Police Department

1 (id.)

Plaintiff alleges that the searches detailed above were not based on any legitimate law enforcement, governmental, judicial, or litigation-related purpose. (Id. ¶ ¶ 41, 276 [Doc. No. 1].) Rather, Karasov claims that these inquiries were a result of governmental employees' curiosity about, romantic attraction to, or animus toward, Karasov. (Id. ¶ 276.)

Plaintiff describes the driver's license information at issue. She alleges that individual Defendants viewed the following private information: " home address, color photograph or image, date of birth, eye color, height, weight, driver['s] identification number, and upon information and belief, [and] social security information." (Id. ¶ 174.) Karasov also alleges that the DPS database includes drivers' health information, presumably including her own medical information. (Id. ¶ 252.) Karasov claims that when she submitted all of this private data, she relied on " the promise of confidentiality made by DPS." (Id. ¶ 292-93.) The Court held oral argument on all of the aforementioned motions on October 16, 2014. (See Minute Entry [Doc. No. 96].)[3]

III. DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Defendant City of Edina also moves for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Rule 12(c). When evaluating a motion to dismiss, the Court assumes the facts in the Complaint to be true and construes all reasonable inferences from those facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff. Morton v. Becker, 793 F.2d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1986). However, the Court need not accept as true wholly conclusory allegations, Hanten v. School District of Riverview Gardens, 183 F.3d 799, 805 (8th Cir. 1999), or legal conclusions Plaintiff draws from the facts pled, Westcott v. City of Omaha, 901 F.2d 1486, 1488 (8th Cir. 1990). In addition, the Court ordinarily does not consider matters outside the pleadings on a motion to dismiss. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(d). The Court may, however, consider exhibits attached to the complaint and documents that are necessarily embraced by the pleadings, Mattes v. ABC Plastics, Inc., 323 F.3d 695, 697 n.4 (8th Cir. 2003), and may also consider public records, Levy v. Ohl, 477 F.3d 988, 991 (8th Cir. 2007).[4]

To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain " enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell A. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Although a complaint need not contain " detailed factual allegations," it must contain facts with enough specificity " to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 555. " Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements," will not pass muster. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In sum, this standard " calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of [the claim]." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. These same standards apply to a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). Clemons v. Crawford, 585 F.3d 1119, 1124 (8th Cir. 2009); Gallagher v. City of Clayton, 699 F.3d 1013, 1016 (8th Cir. 2012).

B. Plaintiff's Count I: DPPA Claims

Karasov asserts only one claim against all Defendants -- that they impermissibly accessed her private data for a purpose not permitted under the DPPA. (See Compl. ¶ ¶ 331-53 [Doc. No. 1].) Below, the Court addresses each Defendant's motion and arguments individually.

1. Defendant Hennepin County

Plaintiff alleges that Hennepin County officers impermissibly accessed her private data fifty-seven times. (See id. ¶ ¶ 79, 83, 87, 91.) The DPS audit excerpt lists seventy-one obtainments by Hennepin County officials, but Plaintiff does not include the fourteen lookups made by officials at the Hennepin County Courts in the list of impermissible accesses made by Hennepin County. (See Compl., Ex. A at 4-8 [Doc. No. 1-1].)

Hennepin County argues that Karasov's DPPA claim must be dismissed because: (1) Plaintiff's claim is barred by the statute of limitations; (2) her Complaint fails to plead a plausible DPPA claim against Hennepin County; and (3) the unnamed individual and supervisor Defendants from Hennepin County are entitled to qualified immunity. (See Def. Hennepin County's Mem. at 4-5 [Doc. No. 29].) Although Hennepin County also " adopts and incorporates the arguments of the other Defendants in this action," (id. at 4 n.2), the Court addresses all of Hennepin County's co-Defendants specific arguments in subsequent sub-sections of this order. The Court addresses Hennepin County's three arguments below.

a. Statute of Limitations

" [W]hen it 'appears from the face of the complaint itself that the limitation period has run,' a limitations defense may properly be asserted through a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss." Varner v. Peterson Farms, 371 F.3d 1011, 1016 (8th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). Although, the DPPA does not contain its own statute of limitations provision, the parties agree that 28 U.S.C. § 1658(a)'s general four-year limitations period for civil actions arising under federal law applies. See 28 U.S.C. § 1658(a); (Def. Hennepin County's Mem. at 5 [Doc. No. 29]; Pl.'s Resp. to Def. City of Minneapolis at 4 [Doc. No. 44][5].)

However, the parties dispute when a DPPA cause of action accrues for purposes of determining when the four-year limitations period begins to run. Defendant asserts that the standard, or injury-occurrence, rule should apply, while Plaintiff argues that the discovery rule should apply. Under the standard rule, " a claim accrues 'when the plaintiff has a complete and present cause of action.'" Gabelli v. S.E.C., 133 S.Ct. 1216, 1220, 185 L.Ed.2d 297 (2013) (quoting Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 388, 127 S.Ct. 1091, 166 L.Ed.2d 973 (2007)). The discovery rule, on the other hand, " delays accrual of a cause of action until the plaintiff has 'discovered' it." Merck & Co. v. Reynolds, 559 U.S. 633, 644, 130 S.Ct. 1784, 176 L.Ed.2d 582 (2010). According to the Supreme Court's holding in Gabelli, the discovery rule is an exception to the standard rule, applied only when a defendant's deceptive conduct prevents a plaintiff from even knowing that she or he has been defrauded. Gabelli, 133 S.Ct. at 1221.

Although the Supreme Court and United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit have not ruled on which accrual rule to apply in a DPPA case, lower courts have addressed this issue. Courts in this District have resoundingly held that the standard rule for accrual applies, such that a DPPA cause of action accrues at the time the improper access of information occurs.[6] See, e.g., Kennedy v. City of Braham, __ F.Supp.3d __, No. 14-cv-226 (SRN/SER), 2014 WL 7073322, at *17, (D. Minn. Dec. 12, 2014); Rollins v. City of Albert Lea, No. 14-cv-299 (SRN/HB), 2014 WL 7534658, at *16 (D. Minn. Dec. 17, 2014); Mallak v. Aitkin County, 9 F.Supp.3d 1046, 1053-55 (D. Minn. 2014); Sheila Potocnik v. Carlson, 9 F.Supp.3d 981, 993-94 (D. Minn. 2014); Bass v. Anoka County, 998 F.Supp.2d 813, 819-20 (D. Minn. 2014); Brian Potocnik v. Anoka County, No. 13-cv-1103 (DSD/TNL), 2014 WL 683980, at *2 (D. Minn. Feb. 21, 2014); McDonough v. Al's Auto Sales, Inc., No. 13-cv-1889 (DSD/FLN), 2014 WL 683998, at *2 (D. Minn. Feb. 21, 2014); Rasmusson v. Chisago County, 991 F.Supp.2d 1065, 1079 (D. Minn. 2014); Kampschroer v. Anoka Cnty., __ F.Supp.3d __, No. 13-cv-2512 (SRN/TNL), 57 F.Supp.3d 1124, 2014 WL 5530590, at *6-7 (D. Minn. Nov. 3, 2014); Kost v. Hunt, 983 F.Supp.2d 1121, 1126-30 (D. Minn. 2013) (finding that the exceptional nature of the discovery rule, the text and structure of § 1658, and the substantive area covered by the DPPA, all support application of the standard rule).

Those courts' holdings are consistent with the Supreme Court's description of when the discovery rule should apply. In TRW Inc. v. Andrews, the Supreme Court limited application of the discovery rule to a few contexts: fraud or concealment, latent disease, and medical malpractice. See 534 U.S. 19, 27, 122 S.Ct. 441, 151 L.Ed.2d 339 (2001). Accordingly, here, the Court applies the standard rule for accrual to Plaintiff's DPPA claims.

Despite this precedent, Plaintiff argues that the Court should apply the discovery rule because " Congress provided no directive on the applicability of the discovery or injury-occurrence rules when referring to § 1658(a)." (See Pl.'s Resp. to Def. City of Minneapolis at 5-6 [Doc. No. 44].) She argues that because § 1658 applies the discovery rule in subsection (b)(1), and the injury-occurrence rule in subsection (b)(2), then Congress must not have intended the injury-occurrence rule to be the default rule for § 1658(a). (Id. at 6-7.) Karasov misreads § 1658. As this Court explained in Rasmussen, Congress amended § 1658 by adding only subsection (b), which incorporates the discovery rule. 991 F.Supp.2d at 1082. However, when subsection (b) was added, Congress did not additionally amend subsection (a). Id. Since subsection (b) expressly incorporates the discovery rule and subsection (a) does not, through amending § 1658, Congress demonstrated that subsection (a) does not incorporate the discovery rule. Id. (citing Gross v. Max, 906 F.Supp.2d 802, 812-13 (N.D. Ind. 2012)).

Plaintiff raises numerous arguments in an attempt to distinguish her case, and argues that the discovery rule applies to DPPA claims. First, Karasov contends that courts construing general statutes of limitation apply the discovery rule unless Congress manifests a different intent. (See Pl.'s Resp. to Def. City of Minneapolis at 5 (citing Comcast of Ill. X v. Multi-Vision Elecs., Inc., 491 F.3d 938 (8th Cir. 2007) [Doc. No. 44].) Plaintiff relies in part on this Court's decision in In re Weldeabzghi, No. 11-cv-03087 (SRN/SER), 2013 WL 717755 (D. Minn. Feb. 27, 2013). (See id. at 19.) Karasov's reliance on this case is misplaced. In In re Weldeabzghi, this Court cited to Eighth Circuit precedent establishing that claims accrue, for purposes of the statute of limitations in 28 U.S.C. § 2401(a), " when the plaintiff 'either knew, or in the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known, that [he or she] had a claim.'" 2013 WL 717755, at *6 (quoting Izaak Walton League of Am., Inc. v. Kimbell, 558 F.3d 751, 759 (8th Cir. 2009)).

However, as discussed herein, Congress manifested a different intent for the applicable statute of limitations period for 28 U.S.C. § 1658(a). The Court disagrees with Plaintiff that by amending subsection (b), and not subsection (a), " Congress was silent on the discovery or injury-occurrence rule." (Pl.'s Resp. to Def. City of Minneapolis at 19 n.3 (emphasis original) [Doc. No. 44].) In fact, in TRW Inc., the Supreme Court stated that a directive from Congress need not be explicit -- it may also be implied from the text or structure of a particular statute. TRW Inc., 534 U.S. at 27-28 (holding that the text and structure of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (" FCRA" ) demonstrates that " Congress implicitly excluded a general discovery rule by explicitly including a more limited one" ).

Plaintiff also claims that Maverick Transp., LLC v. United States DOL, 739 F.3d 1149 (8th Cir. 2014), supports her position that § 1658(a) incorporates the discovery rule. (See Pl.'s Resp. to Def. City of Minneapolis at 10 [Doc. No. 44].) In Maverick Transp., the Eighth Circuit found " no indication Congress intended to exclude a version of the general discovery accrual rule from the [Surface Transportation Assistance Act]." Id. at 1154. Here, however, the Court has already demonstrated how Congress' amendment of § 1658 demonstrated that it indeed intended to exclude the discovery accrual rule from subsection (a). Thus, Maverick Transp. does not support Karasov's position and is distinguishable.

Plaintiff also misapplies the Supreme Court's holding in Gabelli. Plaintiff argues that in Gabelli, the Supreme Court did not rule out the applicability of the discovery rule " when a statute does not speak to the issue." (See Pl.'s Resp. to Def. City of Minneapolis at 18 [Doc. No. 44].) Although this is true, in Gabelli, the Supreme Court found that the statute in fact spoke to the statute of limitations issue. Therefore, the Gabelli Court applied the standard rule because there was a " lack of textual, historical, or equitable reasons to graft a discovery rule onto the statute of limitations [in 28 U.S.C. § 2462]," which governs many penalty provisions. See Gabelli, 133 S.Ct. at 1224. Similarly, here, the relevant DPPA provision also speaks to the statute of limitations issue. As the Court explained above, the textual amendments to the DPPA indicate Congress' intent for the standard accrual rule to apply to § 1658(a).

Finally, Plaintiff mischaracterizes her own experience of allegedly being " defrauded" by Defendant. Karasov correctly states that the Gabelli Court refused to apply the discovery rule in the context of an SEC enforcement action because: (1) the SEC was dissimilar from a typical defrauded plaintiff, since it had powerful tools at its disposal to combat fraud; and (2) the SEC was not seeking typical relief, since it was seeking penalties as opposed to damages. (See Pl.'s Resp. to Def. City of Minneapolis at 8-12 (citing Gabelli, 133 S.Ct. at 1222-23) [Doc. No. 44].) However, Plaintiff incorrectly characterizes herself as the typical defrauded plaintiff. (See id. at 8.)

The nature of the injury addressed by the DPPA -- the obtaining of motor vehicle record information for an impermissible purpose -- is not in the same category as fraud, concealment, latent disease, or medical malpractice because there is no similarly deceptive conduct or concealment. Rather, the violation occurs from accessing the information without a permissible purpose, which is more akin to the type of injury the FCRA is meant to address. Moreover, although Plaintiff describes the accesses as " surreptitious, concealed, and hidden," these characterizations misstate the relevant facts. (Compl. ¶ 256 [Doc. No. 1].) Plaintiff received her DPS audit in a timely fashion after she requested it in 2013. (Id. ¶ ¶ 266, 268.)[7] Thus, neither Defendant Hennepin County, nor any of the other Defendants, concealed their accesses.

While it is true that a plaintiff may not be aware of accesses of her personal data unless she requests an audit, not knowing about the lookups does not equate to fraud or purposeful concealment. As a judge in this District noted in Mallak, " [m]erely being unknown is insufficient, the information must also be unknowable." 9 F.Supp.3d at 1054-55 (internal citations omitted). Accordingly, Plaintiff incorrectly analogizes her case to a series of cases that involve defendants who wrongfully concealed material facts. (See Pl.'s Resp. to Def. City of Minneapolis at 9-12 [Doc. No. 44].) Simply because the purpose of the DPPA is to protect basic privacy rights (id. at 13), does not mean that the discovery rule applies, nor does it mean that the lookups of Plaintiff's information were concealed from her (cf. id. at 14). Therefore, the substantive area governed by the DPPA does not require application of the discovery rule.

Based on the foregoing, the standard rule for accrual applies to Plaintiff's DPPA claims. The Complaint in this case was filed on May 13, 2014, so Plaintiff's DPPA claims that are based on allegations of improper conduct occurring more than four years prior to that date -- i.e., prior to May 13, 2010 -- are barred. Accordingly, the Court finds that fifty-four lookups made by officials from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office, Hennepin County Community Corrections, Hennepin County Economic Assistance, and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office are barred, and not actionable. (See Compl., Ex. A at 4-7 [Doc. No. 1-1].)

However, the remaining three accesses that occurred after the cut-off date are actionable. (See id.) Specifically, the actionable lookups include: (1) a February 4, 2011 lookup made by an official at the Hennepin County Attorney's Office (id. at 4); (2) a July 22, 2010 lookup made by an official at the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office (id. at 7); and (3) a January 6, 2011 lookup also made by an official at the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office (id.).

b. Plausibility

The Court proceeds by addressing the plausibility of the DPPA claims against Defendant Hennepin County, which are not barred by the statute of limitations. Defendant contends that Plaintiff failed to state a DPPA claim pursuant to Iqbal and Twombly. (Def. Hennepin County's Mem. at 12-13 [Doc. No. 29].) To state a claim under the DPPA, a plaintiff must allege that: (1) a defendant knowingly obtained, disclosed, or used personal information; (2) from a motor vehicle record; (3) for a purpose not permitted. 18 U.S.C. § 2724(a). Here, the parties dispute whether the third element of the claim is pled sufficiently: whether Defendant obtained Plaintiff's private data " for a purpose not permitted."

Defendant argues that Karasov was required to plead facts that, if believed, would give rise to a reasonable inference that Defendant accessed her information with an impermissible purpose. (See Def. Hennepin County's Mem. at 13-15 [Doc. No. 29].) Defendant claims that Karasov failed to allege " specific factual allegations" that raise a plausible inference of an impermissible use by Defendant. (Id. at 15.) In her response, Plaintiff contends that she need not prove an impermissible purpose for each obtainment. (See Pl.'s Resp. to Def. Hennepin County at 13 [Doc. No. 42].) Rather, Plaintiff explains that she only needs to plausibly allege that " for whatever purpose Defendants obtained or used her information, it was not a permitted purpose under the statute." (Id.) The Court agrees.

The DPPA outlines fourteen permissible purposes for a government official to access an individual's private driver's license information. See 18 U.S.C. § 2721(b). Relevant for this case, a law enforcement officer may access an individual's personal information in order to carry out the functions of the law enforcement agency. See 18 U.S.C. § 2721(b)(1). Here, however, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Hennepin County, and the other individual and Entity Defendants, did not access her information for any purposes permitted by the DPPA. (See Compl. ¶ ¶ 33, 41, 80-94 [Doc. No. 1].) Therefore, she has pled all the essential elements of her DPPA claims. Karasov is not shifting the burden to Defendant to detail a proper purpose for the access of the data (see Def. Hennepin County's Mem. at 16 [Doc. No. 29]), though Defendant is welcome to offer such a purpose. Rather, she merely alleges that Defendant Hennepin County did not access her data for any of the statutorily permissible purposes outlined in the DPPA; and, as a result, Defendant's purpose was necessarily not permitted under the DPPA.

Furthermore, sufficient facts exist for the Court to infer that Plaintiff's personal information was obtained for a purpose not permitted ...


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