The Secure Times

An online forum of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law's Privacy and Information Security Committee

Bare allegations of emotional harm from release of personal data do not support finding of actual damages under Federal Privacy Act

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Cursory descriptions of alleged emotional harm stemming from the Government’s release of personal financial information do not support a finding of "actual damages" under the federal Privacy Act. Rice v. United States, No. 00-2960, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 62507 (D. D.C. Aug. 27, 2007). The court granted the Government’s motion for summary judgment dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims, concluding that the plaintiffs failed to raise a question of material fact as to whether they could prove actual damages at trial. Without conclusively deciding whether non-pecuniary harm could qualify as actual damages as a matter of law, the court found that the plaintiffs’ failed to produce any evidence to corroborate their bare allegations and failed to allege their emotional injuries produced any physical manifestation requiring medical treatment.

Author: ABA Antitrust

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