Thank you, J.
On this website, I do not always get to give good news, and this is one of these times.
You have a case
, however, it may not be worth pursuit because the damages are not clear and may not be any except possibly a little worry but nothing concrete. Allow me to explain.
To sue in a state court, one needs to have a "cause of action." There are numerous causes of action, such as "breach of contract
," "negligence," "fraud," "unjust enrichment," etc., as well as causes of action rooted in statutory law. Every state has their own although they are very similar to each other in every state because they all stem from the same common law. A pleading in Court needs at least one
cause of action, although it is not unusual to have more than one.
Here, this may be enough for negligence
and public disclosure of private facts
NEGLIGENCE: In order to constitute a cause of action for negligence there must exist: (1) A duty of care on the part of the defendant; (2) a breach of that duty; (3) a causal connection between the conduct and the injury; and (4) an actual loss or damage as a result of the injury. Falk v. Whitewater, 65 Wis.2d 83, 85, 221 N.W.2d 915 (1974); Padilla v. Bydalek, 56 Wis.2d 772, 776, 203 N.W.2d 15 (1973).
DISCLOSURE OF PRIVATE FACTS: Under Wisconcin's 895.5 - see here
Now, the elements are all there. This is a suit, arguably. However, the issue is what you would get out of it
. There has been no theft of identity so far. Addresses and spouse names are XXXXX XXXXX as is gender, of course. SSN is not, but there is no theft yet. For example, there has not been disclosure of a disease, etc.
As such, the question to the Court will be "okay, what are the damages here?" The Court (judge oir jury) may return back a symbolic amount but it may not be worth your while! In an example, I like to use a couple that sued Google for having their home on Streetview. The Court agreed. But the couple could not prove any real damages. so the Court awarded them $1. See here
Yes, they released the information, but it really has not harmed you per se
(at least that is what the Defendant would say). Someone in your situation may be better off demanding via letter an equivalent of a few years of coverage of an ID service like PrivacyGuard. The city may agree. Otherwise, if you take this to court, you may win, but the court may not grant more in judgment than that, since no other damages have been proven and the only concrete damage is the threat of identity theft that has not yet happened.
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