A federal judge has dismissed class action suits filed against state agencies and officials after an employee accessed the driver's license data of thousands of Minnesotans.
Earlier this year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources disclosed that Capt. John Hunt, administrative manager of the DNR's Enforcement Division, had accessed more than 5,000 driver's license records without a work-related purpose. That disclosure spurred some who believed their privacy was violated to file suit against the DNR and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
In the decision filed Friday, U.S. District Judge Joan N. Ericksen dismissed the class action lawsuits, writing that the plaintiffs failed to make the case that Hunt should have been denied access to the records.
"The complaint does not contend that state defendants should not have given Hunt access to relevant databases for purposes of his job. Under such circumstances, the complaint fails to state a violation of any constitutional right to privacy against the state defendants."
Other cases arguing that authorities illegally or inappropriately accessed personal data are unaffected by the decision.