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Sapp v. City of Brooklyn Park

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

June 18, 2015

Katherine Ann Sapp, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Brooklyn Park; Chisago County; City of Chisago City; City of Forest Lake; City of Hastings; Hennepin County; Isanti County; City of Isanti; Lakes Area Police Department; City of Maplewood; Mille Lacs County; City of Plymouth; City of Rice; Washington 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 (1-200), 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.

Jeffrey M. Montpetit, Esq., Susan M. Holden, Esq., and Marcia K. Miller, Esq., SiebenCarey; and Lorenz F. Fett, Jr., Esq., Sonia L. Miller-Van Oort, Esq., and Jonathan A. Strauss, Esq., Sapientia Law Group PLLC, counsel for Plaintiff.

Jon K. Iverson, Esq., Stephanie A. Angolkar, Esq., and Susan M. Tindal, Esq., Iverson Reuvers Condon, counsel for Defendants City of Brooklyn Park, City of Forest Lake, City of Hastings, Lakes Area Police Department, City of Maplewood, City of Plymouth, City of Rice, City of Chisago City, and City of Isanti.

Erin E. Benson, Esq., Margaret A. Skelton, Esq., and Timothy A. Sullivan, Esq., Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, PA, counsel for Defendants Chisago County, Isanti County, Mille Lacs County, Washington County,

Beth A. Stack, Daniel D. Kaczor, Toni A. Beitz, Assistant Hennepin County Attorneys, Hennepin County Attorney's Office, counsel for Defendants Hennepin County, John and Jane Does (1-200).

Oliver J. Larson, Assistant Attorney General, Minnesota Attorney General's Office, counsel for Defendants Michael Campion and Ramona Dohman.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

DONOVAN W. FRANK, District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This matter is before the Court on the following motions: (1) Motion to Dismiss and/or to Sever brought by Hennepin County (Doc. No. 15); (2) Motion to Dismiss, Motion to Sever brought by City of Brooklyn Park, City of Chisago City, City of Forest Lake, City of Hastings, City of Isanti, City of Maplewood, City of Plymouth, City of Rice, and Lakes Area Police Department (together, "City and Police Defendants") (Doc. No. 21); (3) Motion to Dismiss, Motion to Sever brought by Chisago County, Isanti County, Mille Lacs County, and Washington County (together, "County Defendants") (Doc. No. 28); and (4) Motion to Dismiss by Michael Campion and Ramona Dohman ("Commissioner Defendants") (Doc. No. 36). For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants all four motions.

BACKGROUND

This case relates to the alleged unlawful access of Plaintiff Katherine Anne Sapp's ("Sapp" or "Plaintiff") information that is contained in the Department of Vehicle Services' ("DVS")[1] motor-vehicle records database for Minnesota Drivers (the "Database"). ( See generally Doc. No. 1, Compl.) Plaintiff alleges that personnel from various government entities accessed her information contained in the Database without a lawful purpose. ( See generally id. ) Plaintiff alleges that the Database includes individuals' "names, dates of birth, driver's license numbers, addresses, driver's license photos, weights, heights, social security numbers, various health and disability information, and eye colors of Minnesota drivers, both current and former information dating back to the driver's first license issued in Minnesota." (Id. ¶ 60.) Many of the allegations in this case are identical to the allegations made in the numerous and substantially similar cases previously filed in this District[2] and are very familiar to the Court. See, e.g., Mallak v. Aitkin Cnty., 9 F.Supp. 3d 1046, 1049-51, 1064-68 (DWF/LIB) (D. Minn. 2014) (describing plaintiff's allegations relating to the actions by the various government entities and the Commissioner defendants, and also describing the background and framework of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act ("DPPA")). Therefore, here, the Court need not restate all of Plaintiff's allegations, and instead, will focus on alleged facts that are unique to this case.

Plaintiff alleges that she worked as a 911-dispatcher for Washington County between 1997 and 2001. (Compl. ¶ 36.) Plaintiff lives in North Branch, Minnesota, where she has lived since 2001. (Id. ¶ 58.) Since 2001, she has been married to Richard Sapp ("Mr. Sapp"). (Id. ¶¶ 37, 38.) Mr. Sapp has a number of ties to St. Paul, where his father was Chief of Police. (Id. ¶¶ 39, 40.) Mr. Sapp has been a police officer since 1997 and has worked for the Minnesota State Fair Grounds and Rush City as a part of the North Branch Police Department. (Id. ¶¶ 41, 42.)

Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Sapp dated Jennifer Rivard ("Rivard") between 1992 and 1997 and that Mr. Sapp and Rivard lived together between 1995 and 1997 when they broke up and lost contact for a number of years. (Id. ¶¶ 43, 44, 45.) Plaintiff alleges that Mr. Sapp called the Brooklyn Park Police Department in the "mid-2000's" and Rivard answered the call and they engaged in "small talk." (Id. ¶ 46.) Plaintiff alleges that when she and Mr. Sapp received audits of their DVS records, they saw that someone had repeatedly obtained their driver's license information around the time of Mr. Sapp's call to the Brooklyn Park Police Department. (Id. ¶ 47.) Plaintiff and Mr. Sapp believed it was Rivard who had obtained their information.[3] (Id. ) Plaintiff alleges she has never met Rivard. (Id. ¶ 48.) Plaintiff alleges that she and her husband talked with a Lieutenant with the Brooklyn Park Police Department about the accesses and he confirmed that Rivard had looked them up in Brooklyn Park. (Id. ¶¶ 49, 50.) Plaintiff alleges she and Mr. Sapp were concerned Rivard looked up their home address to stalk them. (Id. ¶ 52.)

Plaintiff further alleges that on May 15, 2009, the Minneapolis Star Tribune published an article about her and her siblings, one of whom is married to a Minneapolis police officer. (Id. ¶¶ 53, 54.) Plaintiff alleges her DVS audit shows she was looked up by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources ("DNR") the day after the article appeared and that a letter from the DNR confirmed that the lookup was not for an official purpose. (Id. ¶¶ 55, 56.)

Plaintiff sought an audit of the lookups associated with her information in the DVS database, which she received on January 29, 2013. (Id. ¶¶ 249-251.) Plaintiff alleges that her name, not her driver's license number or license plate number, were accessed nearly sixty times since 2003. (Id. ¶¶ 252, 253.) Plaintiff alleges that there were a number of simultaneous accesses of her information and Mr. Sapp's information. (Id. ¶¶ 147, 148.) Plaintiff alleges that she was looked up numerous times at odd hours of the day. (Id. ¶¶ 149-162.) Plaintiff further alleges that she had never been driving late or otherwise out in a number of cities where lookups occurred at night. (Id. ¶¶ 151-163.) Plaintiff repeatedly alleges she has never been charged with a crime or sought police assistance, except for one traffic ticket ten years ago. ( See, e.g., id. ¶¶ 168, 255-56, 264.)

In her Complaint, Plaintiff asserts only one claim: Violation of the DPPA, 18 U.S.C. § 2721, et seq. (Id. ¶¶ 351-373.) She seeks liquidated, actual and compensatory damages, punitive damages, and injunctive relief. (Id. at Jury Demand ¶¶ 1-6.)

Defendants now move to dismiss the case based primarily on the statute of limitations and for failure to state a claim. ( See Doc. Nos. 18, 24, 31, 37.)

DISCUSSION

I. Legal ...


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