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Mallak v. City of Brainerd

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

February 2, 2017

Brook Mallak, Plaintiff,
v.
City of Brainerd; Cass County; Crow Wing County; City of Fridley; Central Minnesota Community Corrections; City of Staples; City of St. Cloud; City of Staples; Chad Visser, acting in his individual capacity as an Officer of the Baxter Police Department; Julie McCullough, acting in her individual capacity as an employee of the Brainerd Police Department; Joel Reed, acting in his individual capacity as an Officer of the Brainerd Police Department; Anthony Runde, acting in his individual capacity as an Officer of the Brainerd Police Department; Perry Jones, acting in his individual capacity as a Detective for the Fridley Police Department; David Darling, acting in his individual capacity as an Officer of the St. Cloud Police Department; Tyler Burke, acting in his individual capacity as an employee of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office; Amy Edberg, acting in her individual capacity as an employee of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department; Ryan Goff, acting in his individual capacity as a corrections officer for the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office and in his individual capacity as an Officer of the City of Staples Police Department; Gary Gutenkauf, acting in his individual capacity as an Officer of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office; Ginger Heurung, acting in her individual capacity as a corrections officer for the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office; Derek Lavoy, acting in his individual capacity as an investigator for the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office; Deb Nelson, acting in her individual capacity as an employee of the CrowWing County Attorneys' Office; Illissa Ramm, acting in her individual capacity as an Assistant County Attorney in the Crow Wing County Attorney's Office; Michael Tripplet, acting in his individual capacity as a corrections officer for the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office; Karri Turcotte, acting in her individual capacity as an employee of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office; Jon Vukelich, acting in his individual capacity as a Sergeant of the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office; Ryan Barnett, acting in his individual capacity as an employee of Central Minnesota Community Corrections; Dawn Chouinard, acting in her individual capacity as an employee of Central Minnesota Community Corrections; Shannon Wussow, acting in her individual capacity as an employee of Central Minnesota Community Corrections; Colleen Berens; Laura Johnson; Christine Madsen; Joan Smith; John and Jane Does 1 - 500 acting in their individual capacity as supervisors, officers, deputies, staff, investigators, employees or agents of the other law-enforcement agencies; and Entity Does 1-50 including cities, counties, municipalities, and other entities sited in Minnesota and federal departments and agencies, Defendants.

          Jonathan A. Strauss, Esq., Lorenz F. Fett, Jr., Esq., Sonia L. Miller-Van Oort, Esq., and Robin M. Wolpert, Esq., Sapientia Law Group PLLC, counsel for Plaintiff.

          Jon K. Iverson, Esq., Susan M. Tindal, Esq., and Stephanie A. Angolkar, Esq., Iverson Reuvers Condon, counsel for Defendants City of Brainerd, City of Fridley, City of St. Cloud, City of Staples, Chad Visser, Julie McCullough, Joel Reed, Anthony Runde, Perry Jones, and David Darling.

          Erin E. Benson, Esq., Margaret A. Skelton, Esq., and Timothy A. Sullivan, Esq., Ratwik, Roszak & Maloney, PA, counsel for Defendants Cass County, Crow Wing County, and Central Minnesota Community Corrections.

          Jason M. Hill, Esq., Jardine, Logan, & O'Brien, P.L.L.P., and Margaret A. Skelton, Esq., Ratwik Roszak & Maloney, PA, counsel for Defendants Tyler Burke, Amy Edberg.Gary Gutenkauf, Ginger Heurung, Derek Lavoy, Illissa Ramm, Michael Tripplet, Karri Turcotte, Jon Vukelich, Ryan Barnett, Dawn Chouinard, Shannon Wussow, Colleen Berens, Laura Johnson, Christine Madsen, Joan Smith, and Deb Nelson.

          Jason M. Hill, Esq., and Robert I. Yount, Esq., Jardine, Logan, & O'Brien, P.L.L.P., Jon K. Iverson, Esq., Iverson Reuvers Condon, and Margaret A. Skelton, Esq., Ratwik Roszak & Maloney, PA, counsel for Defendants Tyler Burke, Amy Edberg, counsel for Defendant Ryan Goff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendants Cass County, Crow Wing County, Central Minnesota Community Corrections (“CMCC”) (collectively, “Entity County Defendants”), Tyler Burke, Amy Edberg, Karri Turcotte, Jon Vukelich, Derek LaVoy, Gary Gutenkauf, Ryan Barnett, Shannon Wussow, Dawn Chouinard, Michael Triplett, Ginger Heurung, Christine Madsen, Laura Johnson, Colleen Berens, Ilissa Ramm, Deb Nelson, and Joan Smith (collectively, “Individual County Defendants”) (altogether, the “Moving Defendants”). (Doc. No. 337.) For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part the motion.

         BACKGROUND

         I. General Background

         Plaintiff Brook Mallak's (“Plaintiff”) case relates to the alleged improper access of her driver's license information, which is maintained in a database with the Department of Vehicle Services (“DVS”), a division of the Department of Public Safety (“DPS”). Plaintiff claims that the improper access of her information was in violation of the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (“DPPA”) and included access to such information as her name, date of birth, driver's license numbers, addresses, driver's license photos, weight, height, social security number, various health and disability information, and eye color.

         Plaintiff received an audit report from DPS in 2013, at which time she learned that her driver's license information had been accessed by Minnesota municipal and state personnel approximately 190 times between 2003 and 2012. (Doc. No. 350 (“Wolpert Decl.”) ¶ 19, Ex. R (“Jacobson Dep.”) at 135-36 & Ex. 2; Doc. No. 145 (“Mallak Aff.”) ¶ 23; Doc. No. 195, Second Am. Compl. (“SAC”) ¶¶ 2-5, Ex. A (“DPS Audit”).) The lookups of Plaintiff's information were run by Plaintiff's name or driver's license number rather than by her license plate number. (Jacobson Dep. at 138-39.) The accesses were conducted on government entity computers. (Id. at 138.)

         Plaintiff is a practicing attorney in Brainerd and Little Falls, Minnesota. (Mallak Aff. ¶ 1.) Plaintiff was a full-time public defender between 2003 and 2008 in Crow Wing and Aitkin Counties, who represented adult criminal defendants, juvenile delinquents, and parties in child welfare matters. (Id. ¶ 3.) She continues to practice criminal defense in the private sector. (Id. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff has also served on Crow Wing County Drug and DWI courts and a number of steering committees, has volunteered with numerous community organizations, and has taught as an adjunct teacher at Bemidji State University. (Id. ¶¶ 5-8.) Plaintiff is familiar with “several people within the Crow Wing County justice system” and asserts that she is known throughout her community due to her career and community involvement. (Id. ¶¶ 9, 16.)

         As the Court explained in a previous Order, Plaintiff has had a number of interactions with law enforcement, contrary to the representations in her original complaint.[1] (See Doc. No. 199 at 4-5.) In particular, Plaintiff's child was reported unresponsive to the Brainerd police on July 6, 2010. (Mallak Aff. ¶ 14.) The child passed away on July 12, 2010. (Id.) The Brainerd Police Department conducted an investigation regarding the child's death due to the nature of the circumstances surrounding it. (Id. ¶ 15.) The autopsy was issued on approximately August 17, 2010, indicating that the child had passed away from natural causes. (Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff asserts that the tragedy of her son's death was known throughout the community. (Id. ¶ 16.)

         Plaintiff has also had other interactions with law enforcement relating to a reported theft of her motor vehicle, a trespassing incident, a hit and run vehicle accident, a welfare check, and various traffic stops. (Doc. No. 111 (“McQuiston Aff.”) ¶ 7; Mallak Aff. ¶ 31; Doc. No. 340 (“Skelton Aff.”) ¶ 2, Ex. 1 (“Mallak Dep.”) at 145-49, 165-67; Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 11.) Excluding the investigation relating to her son's death, Plaintiff asserts that she has never been under investigation by Defendants. (Mallak Aff. ¶ 19.) She also states she has never been charged with any crimes. (Id. ¶ 20.)

         Plaintiff was in a relationship with an individual referred to as S.M.S. from mid-August 2009 to mid-November 2010. (Id. ¶ 13.) During this time, S.M.S. lived at Plaintiff's home and occasionally drove Plaintiff's vehicles. (Id.; Mallak Dep. at 92.) When Plaintiff and S.M.S. ended their relationship, Plaintiff gave S.M.S. a Honda Accord. (Mallak Dep. at 95.) S.M.S. has a long criminal history, has been on probation through CMCC, owes a significant amount in child support, and has acted as a confidential informant for the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office. (Id. at 96-98, 115-16, 195; Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 4 (“S.M.S. Master Name Index”); Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 7 (“Elder Dep.”) at 159-60, 205.) Plaintiff has not seen S.M.S. since November 2010 and was not aware that S.M.S. was a confidential informant. (Mallak Aff. ¶ 13; Mallak Dep. at 106.) When S.M.S. lived with Plaintiff, he was not under probationary supervision. (Mallak Dep. at 106-07.) Given their past relationship, Plaintiff and S.M.S. are associated persons in the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office internal records to the present day. (See S.M.S. Master Name Index; Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 6 (“Mallak Master Name Index”); Elder Dep. at 207-08.)

         Plaintiff claims to have suffered emotional distress in connection with her DPPA claims as well as out-of-pocket expenses such as the cost of installing an alarm system and hiring a private investigator. (Mallak Dep. at 156-65, 205-19.) When Plaintiff learned the identity of some of the individuals who accessed her DPS record, she was “shocked” due to her “personal and professional relationships with some of them.” (Mallak Aff. ¶ 28.) Since filing her lawsuit, Plaintiff reports that she feels targeted, fears for her safety, fears retaliation, and worries that police will be unresponsive if she calls. (Mallak Dep. at 215-16.) She also reports having intruders come to her home since filing this lawsuit, causing her to fear for her personal safety. (Id. at 159-65, 205-12; see also Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 12.) Plaintiff has not seen any medical or mental health professionals or been diagnosed with a particular condition in connection with her emotional distress. (Mallak Dep. at 156-57.)

         II. Procedural History

         In March 2014, the Court ruled on a number of motions to dismiss in this case. The Court dismissed all DPPA claims outside of a four-year statute of limitations, all Section 1983 claims, and all invasion of privacy claims. (See generally Doc. No. 89.) As a result, a large number of claims and defendants were dismissed from the case. (See Id. at Order.) However, the Court also held that Plaintiff's claim for violations of the DPPA (Count I) could proceed against multiple city and county defendants. (See id.)

         Plaintiff has twice amended her Complaint to replace Doe defendants with named individuals or entities. (See generally Doc. No. 193 at 3-10 (summarizing the procedural history underlying these amendments).) On June 30, 2014, Plaintiff requested discovery from the city and county defendants, and the defendants responded. (See Doc. No. 150 (“Strauss Aff.”) ¶¶ 3-4.) In light of the city and county defendants' discovery responses, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on November 5, 2014, replacing individual Doe defendants with specific, named individuals. (Doc. No. 167, First Am. Compl. (“FAC”).) On August 20, 2014, Plaintiff subpoenaed DPS, requesting production of documents identifying the individual Doe defendants who had allegedly accessed her personal information. (Doc. No. 162 ¶ 1.) DPS objected to the subpoena, taking the position that DPS could not disclose the requested documents absent an order from the Court. (Id. ¶¶ 3-4.) On October 3, 2014, Plaintiff and DPS filed a stipulation regarding Plaintiff's document request (id.), and on October 14, 2014, the Court ordered DPS to produce the documents (Doc. No. 164). Based on the discovery obtained from DPS, Plaintiff filed a Second Amended Complaint on March 18, 2015, replacing additional Doe defendants with named individuals and entities. (See generally SAC.)

         Relevant to the motion currently before the Court, Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint added the following named Defendants: Tyler Burke, Amy Edberg, Gary Gutenkauf, Ginger Heurung, Derek LaVoy, Illissa Ramm, Michael Tripplet, Karri Turcotte, and Jon Vukelich. (See generally FAC.) Also relevant to the motion before the Court, Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint added the following named Defendants: Ryan Barnett, Colleen Berens, Dawn Chouinard, Laura Johnson, Christine Madsen, Deb Nelson, Joan Smith, Shannon Wussow, and CMCC. (See generally SAC.)

         In March 2015, the Court granted in part a Motion for Summary Judgment brought by six Defendant cities. (See Doc. No. 199.) For five accesses, the Court determined that Plaintiff's record was indisputably accessed by law enforcement officers for a permissible reason. Thus, with respect to these accesses, there was no DPPA violation, and the cities were entitled to qualified immunity. (See Id. at 16-18.) However, for five other accesses, the Court concluded that a genuine dispute of material fact remained regarding whether Plaintiff's record was accessed for a permissible purpose, and the cities were not entitled to summary judgment. (Id. at 18-19.)

         The motion currently before the Court relates to accesses by individuals at the following entities: Cass County, [2] Crow Wing County, and CMCC. The Court outlines evidence specific to each of the relevant accesses by entity, below.[3]

         III. Individual Accesses

         A. Cass County

         i. Derek LaVoy (February 2, 2011)

         Derek LaVoy (“LaVoy”) accessed Plaintiff's information from 5:38 p.m. to 5:39 p.m. on February 2, 2011.[4] (Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 16 (“Gutenkauf Dep.”) at 121-22; Wolpert Decl. ¶ 12, Ex. K at Ex. 5 (“Mallak Audit”).) From the spring of 2000 until December 2005, LaVoy was employed by the Cass County Sheriff's Office. (Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 25 (“LaVoy Dep.”) at 13, 20.) Beginning in December 2005, he was employed by the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office. (Id. at 20.) At Crow Wing County, he began as a deputy before becoming an investigator in 2007. (Id. at 20, 42.) He was a member of the Drug Task Force, and he worked on the Drug Court team along with Plaintiff. (Id. at 42, 67-68; Mallak Dep. at 120-21.)

         Although he was an employee and agent of Crow Wing County on February 2, 2011, LaVoy's lookup of Plaintiff's information on this date is attributed to “Cass Co Sheriff” because LaVoy was improperly continuing to use his Cass County credentials. (Elder Dep. at 171-73; LaVoy Dep. at 57-59; Mallak Audit.) LaVoy testified that he never accessed the DVS database from a personal computer. (LaVoy Dep. at 52-53.)

         Around the time of Plaintiff's son's death in July 2010, LaVoy stated he looked up Plaintiff's record on his own initiative to attempt to locate S.M.S. (Id. at 25-28, 33-38.) He was not formally assigned to the investigation, and he was aware that the Brainerd Police Department was taking the lead on the investigation. (Id.) At this time, LaVoy knew Plaintiff, and he was familiar with S.M.S. from his work on the Drug Court team and the Drug Task Force. (Id. at 35.)

         According to the Moving Defendants, LaVoy accessed Plaintiff's record on February 2, 2011 in connection with a burglary investigation at the request of another deputy who was attempting to locate S.M.S. (Id. at 39-40.) LaVoy recalls that the other deputy was afraid to look up Plaintiff's record himself because Plaintiff was an attorney. (Id. at 39.) LaVoy reported that the deputy who asked him to look up Plaintiff's record made the request sometime in the afternoon prior to 5:00 p.m. when LaVoy would normally finish the work day. (Id. at 65-67.) LaVoy could not explain why his February 2, 2011 lookup of Plaintiff's information is listed as 5:38 p.m. in conflict with his memory about the time of the request. (Id. at 66-67.) When asked why he would have looked up Plaintiff's historical driver's license photos on February 2, 2011, LaVoy admitted that he did so out of curiosity rather than a legitimate law enforcement purpose. (Id. at 90-94.) LaVoy also looked up his own DPS record on February 2, 2011 at 5:38 p.m. (Wolpert Decl. ¶ 2, Ex. A (“48-Hour Log”) at 14.) LaVoy never looked up S.M.S.'s record. (Wolpert Decl. ¶ 3, Ex. B (“S.M.S. Audit”).)

         ii. Joan Smith (May 4, 2011)

         Joan Smith (“Smith”), a Cass County Child Support Enforcement Aide, accessed Plaintiff's information one time at 1:16 p.m. on May 4, 2011. (Mallak Audit; Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 26 (“Smith Dep.”) at 9-10, 16.) Smith worked for Cass County from 2001 until her retirement in 2013. (Smith Dep. at 8-10.) Smith had access to the DVS database in her role as a Support Enforcement Aide. (Id. at 28.) She used the DVS database to find noncustodial parents who were not paying child support and to provide addresses for service of process. (Id. at 25-27.) Smith had never heard of Plaintiff before this lawsuit, did not know Plaintiff was a defense attorney, and had never heard of Plaintiff's son's death. (Id. at 43-44.) She has no recollection of accessing Plaintiff on May 4, 2011, and she does not know why she would have accessed Plaintiff's DVS record. (Id. at 46-51.) Smith's access of Plaintiff's information took place during her normal work hours. (Id. at 46.) Cass County has no records of child support matters involving Plaintiff and is not aware of any government-related or personal reason for Smith's May 4, 2011 access. (Doc. No. 362 (“Sullivan Aff.”) ¶ 2, Ex. 1 (“Barone Dep.”) at 79-80, 98-102.) Plaintiff does not believe she knows Smith and testified that she was not familiar with her name. (Mallak Dep. at 73.) Smith never looked up S.M.S.'s record. (S.M.S. Audit.)

         B. Crow Wing County

         i. Tyler Burke

         Tyler Burke (“Burke”), a Crow Wing County dispatcher, accessed Plaintiff's information one time at 9:11 p.m. on December 14, 2010. (Mallak Audit; Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 13 (“Burke Dep.”) at 9-11, 64-68.) Burke was a dispatcher for Crow Wing County from 2007 to 2013 before moving to a position as a patrol deputy. (Burke Dep. at 9-11.) As a dispatcher, Burke frequently used the DVS database to locate information on people who called in to dispatch or to provide information to officers on patrol. (Id. at 25-26, 31, 35-36.) Burke stated that he and other dispatchers would likely use the county's internal Master Name Index rather than the DVS database to look up individuals who had frequent contacts with the county because their internal records would contain more current information. (Id. at 31-34.) Burke explained that there was a culture within the Crow Wing County dispatch center that tolerated using the DVS database for curiosity and not only work-related use. (Id. at 36-40.) This culture changed over time, and Burke later stopped using the DVS database out of curiosity, although he could not recall specifically when his behavior changed. (Id. at 48-51.)

         When he looked up Plaintiff's record in December 2010, Burke was dating Amy Edberg (“Edberg”), another Defendant in this case. (Id. at 71.) They were later engaged. (Id. at 24, 71.) Edberg was acquainted with Plaintiff and introduced Burke to her at some point. (Id. at 60-61, 72.) Burke asserted that he most likely met Plaintiff in person sometime after December 14, 2010. (Id. at 60.) Burke recalls hearing about Plaintiff's son's death in July 2010. (Id. at 62.) He has no recollection of accessing Plaintiff on December 14, 2010, and he does not know why he accessed Plaintiff's DVS record. (Id. at 68-69.) He is not aware of any records related to his December 14, 2010 access of Plaintiff's information. (Id. at 78.) Less than two hours after accessing Plaintiff's record, Burke accessed the record of Angel Christensen, a friend of Edberg and Plaintiff. (48-Hour Log at 6; Burke Dep. at 72; Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 5 (“Edberg Dep.”) at 82-83.) Around this time, Burke admits he was probably still using the DVS database out of curiosity. (Id. at 69.)

         ii. Amy Edberg

         Edberg, a Crow Wing County dispatcher, accessed Plaintiff's information one time at 12:07 a.m. on January 30, 2011. (Mallak Audit; Edberg Dep. At 22-23, 90-92.) Edberg has held a position as a dispatcher at the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office since July 2002. (Edberg Dep. at 22-23.) In 2011, she worked the night shift from 6:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m. (Id. at 31, 92.) As noted above, Edberg was in a relationship with Burke starting in 2009, and the two were later engaged. (Id. at 15-16.) As a dispatcher, Edberg used numerous databases to look up information in connection with emergency and non-emergency calls or upon officer request. (Id. at 23-29, 55-63.) Specifically, Edberg recalls using the DVS database to look up individuals' full names, dates of birth, addresses, vehicle registrations, and disability certificates. (See Id. at 60-61.) Edberg explained that she was instructed by her supervisor that she could “play around with” the DVS database to get familiar with it as long as she did not look up any famous people. (Id. at 41, 74.) At some point, however, she was instructed to no longer use the database in this manner. (Id. at 43.) After hearing of individuals being sued for improper DVS use, Edberg asserts that she changed her behavior to no longer look up records out of curiosity. (Id. at 78-80.)

         Plaintiff and Edberg met in 2008 through a mutual friend, Angel Christensen. (Id. at 83.) According to Edberg, Plaintiff “was a close friend” from about 2008 to 2010. (Id. at 83-85.) Edberg asserts that she never personally had a dispute with Plaintiff but that the two lost contact sometime in 2010 after the relationship between Plaintiff and Angel Christensen became more complicated. (Id. at 85-87, 89-90.) Edberg and Plaintiff had other mutual friends including Tom Pearson, an attorney who works with Plaintiff. (Id. at 87-88.) Edberg recalled hearing about a dispute involving Angel Christensen, Tom Pearson, and Plaintiff. (Id. at 116.)

         Edberg does not remember accessing Plaintiff's DVS record on January 30, 2011 at 12:07 a.m. (Id. at 94.) Initially, Edberg reported looking up Plaintiff on that date in connection with a traffic stop of S.M.S. (Id. at 93-96.) A Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office Incident Report documents a traffic stop involving S.M.S. on January 30, 2011 at 1:28 p.m. (Id. at 98-100; see also Wolpert Decl. ¶ 5, Ex. D at Ex. 7 (“January 30, 2011 Incident Report”).) When asked why she would have looked up Plaintiff's information at 12:07 a.m. for a traffic stop that occurred later in the day at 1:30 p.m., Edberg stated “I don't know why I ran it that day. If it wasn't in reference to a traffic stop, I would not know why I looked the information up.” (Id. at 100-01, 103-04.) Edberg also clarified that she was originally thinking of a traffic stop involving S.M.S. that occurred in a different city than the stop documented on the January 30, 2011 Incident Report. (Id. at 98, 105-07.) Edberg did not look up S.M.S.'s DVS record on January 30, 2011. (48-Hour Log at 7-8.) Within minutes of looking up Plaintiff's information on that day, Edberg also looked up Angel Christensen and Thomas Pearson. (Id. at 7.)

         iii. Ilissa Ramm

         Ilissa Ramm (“Ramm”) accessed Plaintiff's information at 8:29 a.m. on January 31, 2012 and from 9:41 a.m. to 9:44 a.m. on March 6, 2012. (Mallak Audit.) Ramm worked as an Assistant County Attorney for the Crow Wing County Attorney's Office from 2006 to 2015. (Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 21 (“Ramm Dep.”) at 10-11, 21.) Her position primarily involved misdemeanor prosecutions, and she also served as the prosecutor for DWI court. (Id. at 17-18.) Ramm had access to the DVS database in this position beginning in around 2009, and she used the database to look up information in “[a] large percentage” of the cases she worked on. (Id. at 19, 21-23, 31-32.)

         Plaintiff was introduced to Ramm when Plaintiff was a public defender in 2006. (Id. at 48-49.) The two saw one another frequently in the courtroom and at times as opposing counsel. (Id. at 48-49, 55-56.) They also served on the DWI court together. (Id. at 93.) Beginning in around 2007 or 2008, Ramm and Plaintiff also began to see one another outside of work. (Id. at 49-51.) Ramm explained that they would socialize with one another at a local bar and at the YMCA. (Id. at 49-50, 56-58.) Plaintiff also visited Ramm's house once or twice and attended Ramm's baby shower. (Id. at 50-51.)

         Ramm does not specifically remember accessing Plaintiff's DVS record on January 31, 2012 or March 6, 2012, but she recalls accessing her record in that general time frame in connection with a case involving S.M.S. (Id. at 64-67.) Ramm explained that she was attempting to locate S.M.S. based on an alleged Order for Protection violation reported in July 2011. (Id. at 67, 71-72.) The incident report states that S.M.S. was living in Portland, Oregon, at the time of the alleged violation. (Id. at 72-75.) Ramm asserts that she nonetheless wanted to determine if S.M.S. was back in Minnesota. (Id. at 76.) She knew that Plaintiff and S.M.S. had been associated at some point and possibly could have been at the time. (Id. at 67-68.) Ramm knew that S.M.S. and Plaintiff had broken up, but she could not recall when she knew this. (Id. at 67-70, 87-88.) She also knew that S.M.S. had driven Plaintiff's vehicle at one time. (Id. at 77, 81, 84.) Ramm testified that she looked up Plaintiff's DVS record by name to see what vehicles were registered to her. (Id. at 77-79.) The case file and Ramm's notes in the file indicate that she continued to attempt to locate S.M.S. through phone records until May 2012. (Id. at 75-77, 80.) The file does not mention Plaintiff's name or the dates when Ramm accessed Plaintiff's DVS record. (Id. at 81-82, 101-02, 105-07.)

         On March 6, 2012, Ramm accessed the record of Thomas Pearson, Plaintiff's law partner, in the same minute she accessed Plaintiff's record. (48-Hour Log at 15; Mallak Dep. at 37.) Ramm did not look up S.M.S.'s DPS record around these dates. (S.M.S. Audit.) Along with a “Demographics” lookup, Plaintiff's DPS Audit shows that Ramm conducted lookups on these dates designated with the following code: “/dvsinfo/VH20/VH20Select.asp.” (Mallak Audit.) A VH20 lookup generates a list of the vehicles registered to the individual queried. (Jacobson Dep. at 143, 156, 266-71.)

         Michael W. Quinn (“Quinn”), Plaintiff's expert, initially stated in his deposition that Ramm's explanation of her access suggested it was for a law enforcement purpose. (Wolpert Decl. ¶ 22, Ex. U (“Quinn Dep.”) at 111-12.) Upon learning that Ramm did not access S.M.S.'s DVS record on the dates in question and that she accessed Plaintiff's law partner, Thomas Pearson, within seconds of accessing Plaintiff on March 6, 2012, Quinn later concluded that Ramm's explanation was not reasonable. (Wolpert Decl. ¶ 26, Ex. Y; see also 48-Hour Log at 14-15.)

         C. Central Minnesota Community Corrections

         i. Shannon Wussow

         Shannon Wussow (“Wussow”) accessed Plaintiff's information from 1:37 p.m. to 1:38 p.m. on June 21, 2012 and at 4:03 p.m. on September 5, 2012. (Mallak Audit; see also Skelton Aff. ¶ 2, Ex. 27 (“Wussow Dep.”) at 66-69, 72-73.) Since September 2008, Wussow has been a probation agent with CMCC, an entity that provides supervisory services for Aitkin, Morrison, and Crow Wing counties. (Wussow Dep. at 8, 15, 25, 39.) Her duties include monitoring conditions of probation through file reviews, appointments with offenders, and contacts with offenders' family members if necessary. (Id. at 22-23.) Wussow had access to the DVS database beginning in 2008 until she stopped using it in September 2013. (Id. at 27-29.) Wussow was initially unaware that she was not supposed to use the DVS database for personal reasons, and she recalls using it to look up a friend's birthday and relatives' addresses. (Id. at 32-33.) She explained that there was a culture at CMCC where it was not uncommon for employees to use the DVS database for personal reasons. (Id. at 33-34, 46.) When she later found out such uses were not permitted, Wussow no longer used it for personal reasons. (Id. at 32-33.)

         In 2009, Wussow became familiar with Plaintiff through her work as a probation agent and through involvement in the DWI court. (Id. at 54.) Between 2009 and 2011, Plaintiff included Wussow on three e-mails sent to numerous contacts regarding a housewarming party, Plaintiff's son's hospitalization, and Plaintiff's new e-mail address. (Id. at 53-36, 95-97; see also Wolpert Decl. ¶ 24, Ex. W at Ex. 11.) Wussow stated that she did not attend the housewarming party and that she and Plaintiff never socialized with one another. (Wussow Dep. at 53-54, 56.) In July 2010, Wussow recalled hearing conversations around the judicial building about Plaintiff's son's death. (Id. at 90-91.) Wussow's husband was in the same circle of friends as Plaintiff in high school. (Id. at 104.)

         Wussow does not specifically recall accessing Plaintiff's DVS record in 2012 but believes she did so in connection with a file review involving S.M.S. (Id. at 57-59, 68-69, 72-74.) Wussow explained that it was common practice to review an administrative-level offender's file approximately every three months. (Id. at 64, 74.) When conducting a file review, Wussow explained that she “tr[ies] to gain as much information about an offender as possible.” (Id. at 62-63, 70.) For example, she described a practice of looking up information to establish with whom the offender is residing. (Id. at 59.) She also explained that looking up addresses could establish ...


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