IPAD's Fall 2015 Newsletter

FYi - From the Information Policy Analysis Division

Volume 14 Issue 3  |  SEPTEMBER 2015

Case Law Update

Federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) cases

The eighth circuit court of appeals held that certain individuals may properly sue various Minnesota law enforcement agencies for unlawfully accessing the individuals’ personal data through the Driver and Vehicle Services database maintained by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) under the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act.


The court upheld the lower courts’ determinations that the statute of limitations on DPPA claims begins to run at the time that the violation occurred (as opposed to when the violation is discovered). This affirmed the dismissal of claims brought after the applicable four-year limitation period. 


To analyze whether the allegations presented sufficient facts to support a DPPA claim, the court looked at several factors, including the total number of accesses, each individual’s criminal history, the nature of each individual’s personal relationship with law enforcement agencies, and the whether the accesses exhibited suspicious patterns in sustaining timely claims.


Finally, the court affirmed the dismissal of all claims against current and former Commissioners of DPS, reasoning that they had neither negligently or knowingly violated the DPPA.

McDonough v. Anoka County et al., No. 14-1754 et seq., (8th Cir., Aug. 20, 2015).


Data in bus video recordings

The Minnesota court of appeals affirmed that Metro Transit bus video recordings maintained by the Met Council that had been used in an internal personnel investigation were public data. The court ruled that the recordings were not properly classified as personnel data because the data were initially collected for a variety of purposes, and not solely for the purpose of monitoring or investigating Metro Transit employees. The court stated “Data that are not initially classified as ‘personnel data’ are not automatically converted to private data merely because they are used for personnel purposes.”

KSTP-TV v. Metro Transit and the Metropolitan Council, No. A14-1957 (Minn. Ct. App., Aug. 24, 2015).


The court of appeals cited the holding in KSTP-TV v. Metro Transit (above), to affirm that a video recording - created for a variety of purposes by a government entity - cannot be properly classified as private, personnel data and the data on the recording are public.

Burks v. Metropolitan Council, No. 27-CV-14-3175 (Minn. Ct. App., Sept. 8, 2015, unpublished).

Upcoming IPAD Events


The Do's and Don'ts of Government Personnel Data Workshop – October 28, 2015, St. Paul, MN


Law Enforcement Data Workshop – November 4, 2015, St. Paul, MN




MN Admin / Information Policy Analysis Division