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Friday, August 17, 2012

Liability Alert: Parking Ticket on Windshield Could Violate Driver’s Privacy Protection Act

The ease of issuing a citation for an illegally parked car and simply placing it on the windshield might be a thing of the past, or at least in its present form.

In Senne v. Village of Palatine, the Seventh Circuit recently held that an individual stated a claim that the Village violated the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) when a police officer left a parking citation on an illegally parked car.  The DPPA prohibits others from obtaining, disclosing, or using personal information from a motor vehicle record.  Here, the Court found that the citation did just that – the citation contained information that was obtained from the state motor vehicle records, and the officer disclosed that information by placing it on the windshield where the public could view it.  Interestingly, the court held that a "disclosure" under the Act does not require proof that anyone actually viewed the personal information.

The DPPA does provide a number of exceptions to the disclosure ban, such as disclosures that are required for a law enforcement agency to carry out its functions and disclosures that are used in connection with a service of process.  While the Court agreed with the Village that placing the ticket on the windshield was indeed a process of service, it determined that the ticket contained more information than was necessary.  As a result, it did not fall within the "service of process" exception under the Act.  The case will now go back to the trial court for further proceedings.

The potential liability to municipalities is reason enough to review municipal actions that may be considered disclosures under this Act.

Thank you to Sara Smith for her assistance on this post.

1 comment:

  1. This is true anyone can view the personal information from these tickets placed on the windshield, there should be some other ways for that or the officer should wait until the vehicle owner arrives.