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TV newsers pursuing data misuse claims

Posted by: Eric Roper Updated: August 19, 2013 - 11:25 AM

Some familiar names from local TV news are among the many people seeking damages from local governments over misuse of the state's drivers license data.

Just last week, Fox 9 anchor and sports reporter Dawn Mitchell sued about 50 Minnesota governments in federal court after learning public employees had viewed her driver record 219 times over eight years.

KSTP investigative producer -- and former crime reporter -- Beth McDonough filed a similar suit in July.

Data provided by the St. Paul and Minneapolis city attorney's offices show that among others planning to sue is KSTP reporter Jay Kolls. Kolls has sent notices of claim against at least those two entities, alleging six lookups each. Notices of claim typically precede lawsuits.

St. Paul said Kolls is seeking $60,000 in damages from them, which amounts to $10,000 per lookup.

Reached by e-mail Monday, Kolls directed questions to his attorney at Sapientia Law Group, Jonathan Strauss. Strauss did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Strauss said in an e-mail that notices of claim give cities an opportunity to "clarify" whether a look-up was legitimate. "Because we respect that process, we cannot comment about claim notices until a lawsuit is filed," Strauss said.

Sapientia has handled all of the claims and suits brought by TV personalities so far.

"There will be more," Sapientia attorney Mark Zitzewitz said last week, referring to claims from people in TV. "Folks who have some notoriety likely become more egregious cases than an anonymous person." 


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