X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
MIAMI — A settlement was proposed Wednesday in a lawsuit that claims national information companies improperly used sensitive motor vehicle records for marketing purposes, in a case that could affect 200 million people nationwide. The 11 lawsuits were filed by people in Florida who charged that the companies obtained and used their personal information without permission. But both sides want a federal judge in Miami to make it apply to as many as 200 million people whose driver’s license or vehicle registration data was obtained by the companies since April 1, 1998, according to the settlement. “Everyone agrees that no one should have their driver’s information used for marketing purposes without their consent,” said Tom Loffredo, spokesman for the companies, which include Atlanta-based Choicepoint Inc., Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Experian Information Solutions Inc. and U.S. units of London-based Reed Elsevier PLC. Under the agreement, most of the defendant companies would adopt a series of safeguards aimed at protecting personal data commonly available from state motor vehicle agencies. No damages would be paid in the case, although each of the original plaintiffs would get up to $15,000 each and the lawyers involved could get $25 million in fees and expenses from the companies. People around the country who have evidence they were harmed by misuse of personal data could still file lawsuits even if the settlement is approved as a nationwide agreement, plaintiffs’ attorneys said. “We feel this agreement accomplishes our goal of protecting consumer rights,” lawyers Tod Aronovitz and John Yanchunis said in a joint statement. “We are hopeful the court will approve this agreement, which requires these companies to go above and beyond what the law requires.” It will be up to U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez to decide whether to approve the settlement and whether it should be applied to all 50 states. A decision is not likely for weeks. The original lawsuit, filed in April 2003, claimed that the information providers were violating the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act by impermissibly obtaining personal information from motor vehicle records. The information was mainly sold to customers who used it to send people unwanted bulk mail surveys, marketing flyers and solicitations. Ten other cases bringing similar claims were combined with the original in federal court in Miami, with the proposed settlement coming after four years of litigation. Two companies named in the case � R.L. Polk & Co., of Southfield, Mich., and Little Rock, Ark.-based Acxiom Corp. � refused to join in the settlement. For the others, the agreement would: � Require adoption of a compliance program and appointment of a compliance director to make sure the law is followed. � Mandate that contracts with customers include language requiring them to maintain confidentiality of driver information and identify the ways the data is to be used. � Set up education programs for company employees who handle driver information. � Appoint an independent third party to evaluate and confirm each company’s compliance with federal law. Martinez would retain jurisdiction over the settlement for seven years to ensure its terms are followed, attorneys said.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Benefits of a Digital Membership:

  • Free access to 3 articles* every 30 days
  • Access to the entire ALM network of websites
  • Unlimited access to the ALM suite of newsletters
  • Build custom alerts on any search topic of your choosing
  • Search by a wide range of topics

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?

 
 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.