Minnesota driver-data snooping settlement: $2 million

 Tuesday, October 8, 2013

 Star Tribune

An insurance trust representing Minnesota counties has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a potential class action lawsuit over driver’s license data snooping. The proposed settlement, presented Thursday in federal court, is the largest payout so far over misuse of driver’s license files — which has spurred a raft of lawsuits in recent months. The impact on taxpayers will likely be felt through governments paying higher insurance premiums to the Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust, which provides liability coverage to all but the state’s largest counties. The only other major driver’s license snooping case that reached a settlement was brought by former police officer Anne Marie Rasmusson, who won more than $1 million in damages from local governments after alleging her data and photo had been routinely viewed.Thursday’s case involved a child support officer in Rock County, Janet Patten, who allegedly made more than 4,000 photo queries of the Driver and Vehicle Services (DVS) database in 2010 and 2011. Patten was fired and several law firms sued on behalf of about 3,000 people who received data breach letters.
“She looked up friends and neighbors and co-workers and workers in other counties,” Rock County Administrator Kyle Oldre said last year. “It was just people she knew. And she spent a ton of time doing it.”

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