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Court Says Law Protects Law Firm Sued for Obtaining Vehicle Records

Posted May 13, 2008 7:03 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal appeals court has ruled a Florida law firm researching litigation against car dealerships did not violate federal law when it bought registration information about thousands of vehicles.

The owner of a Chevrolet Impala had sued the law firm for violating the privacy law when it acquired information about his car and 284,000 others, the Daily Business Review reports.

But the Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the law firm, George Hartz Lundeen Fulmer Johnson, was entitled to the information under an exception to the federal law, the Driver's Privacy Protection Act. The exception allows for the records to be used for investigation in anticipation of litigation, the court said in its April 24 opinion (PDF).

The law was passed following the slaying of an actress by a stalker who obtained home information about her from driver records.

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