JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (CN) – Two related federal class actions have the potential to bankrupt the state. The plaintiffs claim that the Source for Public Data and Chexsystems Collection Agency illegally obtained a database from the Missouri Department of Motor Vehicles, with confidential information about Missouri drivers.
The complaint against Source for Public Data was filed on July 21, 2008; the claim against Chexsystems was filed on July 29 this year.
The classes claim the companies violated the Federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act by selling their personal information and making false representations to get it.
Mitchell Burgess, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said the damages could be staggering. He said federal law provides for damages of up to $2,500 a person. If 100,000 people are affected, then damages could hit $250 million.
The suit states that the class could number in the millions.
Burgess said Missouri cannot be sued under the statute, but that people who work for the state could. He said 10 DMV workers were named as defendants in the Source for Public Data suit, including Omar Davis, director of the Missouri Department of Revenue. No DMV workers were named as defendants in the Chexsystems suit.
“It seemed unnecessary to bring them into this case,” Burgess said. “It seemed like a waste of resources to all parties to bring in the 10 defendants from the other case. … It’s all going to be addressed. It seemed like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip at that point.”
The workers’ inclusion means the State of Missouri could be liable for some or all of the damages.