KANSAS CITY, Mo. (CN) – Southwestern Bell is the latest defendant in a series of class actions that alleged illegal acquisition and release of confidential information from Department of Motor Vehicles databases.
The latest class action, filed on Nov. 13, is part of a group of suits whose defendants include Source for Public Data, Westlaw, Explore, Locate Plus and state workers from Missouri, Iowa and Ohio.
All of the complaints claim the defendants violated the Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act by selling restricted personal information and by making false representations to get it.
Plaintiffs’ attorney Mitchell Burgess said there are eight certified classes in Missouri, Iowa and Ohio federal courts.
Burgess said the damages could be staggering: federal law provides for damage of up to $2,500 a person. If 100,000 people are affected, the damages could come to $250 million. Burgess says millions of Missouri, Iowa and Ohio drivers could be a part of the class.
Missouri cannot be sued under the statute, but individuals who work for the state could, which is why Missouri, Iowa and Ohio are not defendants, Burgess said.
But he added that the workers’ inclusion as defendants means the states could be liable for some or all of the damages.