STATESVILLE, N.C. (CN) - LexisNexis and a police reports website obtained North Carolina Motor Vehicle Department records and illegally used them for marketing purposes, a class action lawsuit claims.
Deloris and Leonard Gaston are licensed drivers living in Charlotte, N.C., who say they were involved in car accidents in Mecklenburg County.
The Gastons sued LexisNexis Risk Solutions Inc. and PoliceReports.US LLC earlier this month in North Carolina Federal Court. The class action complaint was filed on behalf of a proposed class of people whose motor vehicle records were obtained by LexisNexis and PoliceReports without their consent.
The companies violated the Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) by obtaining the driver records and illegally releasing personal information, according to the lawsuit. The DPPA restricts the disclosure of personal information in motor vehicle records to businesses for marketing and solicitation purposes.
"Defendants' websites allow the purchase of crash reports by report date, location, or driver name and payment by credit card, prepaid bulk accounts or monthly accounts," the complaint states. "Purchasers are not required to establish any permissible use provided in the DPPA to obtain access to plaintiffs' and class members' [records]."
LexisNexis and PoliceReports "engaged in widespread commercial usage" of driver records without drivers' permission, the Gastons claim.
"Such conduct constitutes a highly offensive and dangerous invasion of plaintiffs' and the class members' privacy and safety," the Jan. 12 lawsuit states.
The lawsuit seeks class certification, disgorgement of ill-gotten profits, restitution, an injunction against DPPA violations, and compensatory and punitive damages.
The Gastons are represented by Larry McDevitt of the Van Winkle Law Firm in Asheville, N.C.
LexisNexis did not immediately respond to a request for comment emailed Tuesday afternoon.