7th Circuit affirms dismissal of proposed Driver’s Privacy Protection Act class action
On August 22, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a proposed class action alleging that defendant insurance companies leaked the plaintiffs’ drivers license numbers, holding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue the insurance companies. In a split decision, the majority opinion held that plaintiffs failed to establish standing to bring a lawsuit under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) based on the unauthorized disclosure of their driver’s license numbers through a form on defendant’s website. The majority held that plaintiffs failed to allege a concrete injury, writing that allegations that plaintiffs are worried about future identity theft stemming from the disclosure are insufficient for standing, focusing on legitimate reasons why driver’s license numbers are commonly exposed to third-parties. The majority further held that plaintiffs failed to allege that false unemployment benefit applications submitted in their name were traceable to the disclosure of their driver’s license number, dooming their standing claim. In a dissent, Judge Kenneth Ripple disagreed with the majority’s conclusion that plaintiffs failed to make sufficient allegations to justify standing, reasoning that the DPPA contemplates a private right of action for the types of harms suffered by the plaintiffs and that plaintiffs adequately alleged that they suffered harm from false unemployment benefit applications submitted as a result of the driver’s license number leak.