THE COALITION FOR SENSIBLE PUBLIC RECORDS ACCESS
April 2015 - Federal Jury Throws Out Case Against Online Investigative Search Provider
On April 24, 2015, an 11-person jury in Untied States District Court, Southern District of New York unanimously rendered a defense verdict in favor of Arcanum Investigations, the company that owns the website Docusearch.com, after a five-day trial.
The plaintiff, Erik H. Gordon, whose father, Michael Gordon, is CEO of a large, well-known investment firm Angelo & Gordon, Co., brought claims under the Drivers Privacy Protection Act, or "DPPA", against the reseller defendant Defendants for knowingly obtaining and disclosing Plaintiff’s personal information, from a motor vehicle record, for a purpose not permitted under the federal statute.
The facts of the case before the jury were as follows: On the evening of October 10, 2009, outside of a nightclub, Erik Gordon’s limousine driver entered into an argument with defendant Aron Leifer. After a car chase, Leifer wrote down the license plate number of the limousine, a London-style cab, such that he can look up the vehicle’s owner to discuss the events of the evening.
Leifer, through an alias, “Jack Loren” had an account with Docusearch.com, an investigative website owned and run by defendant Arcanum Investigations which allows for online access of professional investigative services such as background checks, record searches and “license plate lookups.”
On that evening Leifer submitted a license plate lookup request, paid a $39 fee, entered a DPPA permissible purpose of “insurance.” After Arcanum had received the requested information from Softech International (a wholesaler of DMV information), it supplied Gordon’s name an address to Leifer. Leifer later admitted that he had no legitimate insurance purpose for the access of the DMV information.
Leifer then ascertained the plaintiff’s phone number by performing a further internet search. Leifer placed five phone calls to phone numbers associated with the plaintiff and spoke with Gordon’s personal assistants and mother.
Gordon contended that the calls were threatening (despite the fact that plaintiff and Leifer never once spoke to each other). In fact Leifer never directly threatened the plaintiff. Leifer admitted that he expressed anger and frustration when Mr. Gordon would not come to the phone. Leifer also falsely stated on the phone that he was from a movie studio and wanted to use the London Cab in a film.
Gordon testified that even though the calls stopped after a few days, he believed that he would imminently be killed or kidnapped. As such he retained a security service and spent money upgrading his personal security, such as revamping his home alarm system and anti-intruder profile, hiring an armed security driver (as opposed to normal limousine drivers). He claims in this lawsuit that will require such extra security for life and sought the costs of same.
In the lawsuit the plaintiff sought damages of $6,650,000, against Arcanum inclusive of (approximately $4,000,000 in actual damages; $2,000,000 in punitive damages for allegedly reckless conduct $650,000 in attorneys’ fees under the Federal Statute.
Procedurally: Aron Leifer settled out with the plaintiff for an undisclosed sum. Defendant Softech was granted summary judgment. Gordon v. Softech, 828 F.Supp.2d 665 (S.D.N.Y. 2011), which was upheld on appeal. Gordon v. Softech, 726 F.3d 42 (2d Cir. 2013).
Defendant Arcanum was likewise granted summary judgment in the district court but such ruling was reversed by the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on July 31, 2013. Gordon v. Softech, 726 F.3d 42 (2d Cir. 2013), with a majority opinion written by Circuit Judge Denny Chin, but not without dissent from Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs. The majority read a “reasonable care” standard into the DPPA, holding that questions of fact existed as to whether Arcanum as data reseller exercised reasonable care in disclosing driver's personal information to end user Aron Leifer.
Both the plaintiff and defendant Arcanum filed certiorari briefs to the United States Supreme Court, which declined to hear the matter on Jan. 13, 2014 with a denial of certiorari for both parties. Arcanum’s bid to the Supreme Court was based on the dissent, as well as the fact that there is a split in the circuits as to how the DPPA is interpreted.
A jury trial in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York before Hon. Richard M. Berman lasted five days resulting in defense verdict on April 24, 2015. The jury ruled that Arcanum did not violate the DPPA and never got to the question of damages.
January 2014 - TransUnion rejoins CSPRA
TransUnion is a global leader in credit information and information management services. For more than 40 years, we have worked with businesses and consumers to gather, analyze and deliver the critical information needed to build strong economies throughout the world. The result is two-fold: 1) Businesses can better manage risk and customer relationships 2) Consumers can better understand and manage credit to achieve their financial goals
November 2012 - Lender Processing Services, Inc (LPS) joins CSPRA
Lender Processing Services, Inc. (LPS) is a leading provider of mortgage and consumer loan processing services, mortgage settlement services, default solutions and loan performance analytics, as well as solutions for the real estate industry, capital markets investors and government officies.
April 2013 - McBurney v. Young
Click here to read the Supreme Court Opinion The US Supreme Court unanimously upheld Virginia's citizens-only restriction on public records access against a commerce clause and privileges and immunities challenge