The United States District Court for the Central District of California recently granted summary judgment to Sirius XM Radio, Inc. in a putative class action under the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (“DPPA”).

As background, plaintiff James Andrew alleged on behalf of himself and a putative class that Sirius sent solicitation letters using personal information obtained from motor vehicle records in violation of the DPPA’s limits on marketing uses.  Prior to the filing of Sirius’ motion for summary judgment, counsel for Sirius explained to Andrew’s counsel that the satellite radio broadcaster had not obtained the “personal information” of Andrew or any other class members from the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles but instead obtained Andrew’s name, address, telephone number, and vehicle information from a combination of Auto Source, the dealer from which Andrew purchased the vehicle, and the United States Postal Service’s change of address database.  Despite Sirius providing Andrew’s counsel with declarations supporting these facts, Andrew refused to dismiss the suit.

In his opposition brief to Sirius’ motion for summary judgment, Andrew argued that “the DPPA extends beyond information obtained from a state’s DMV and includes Defendant’s use of information obtained from the driver license Plaintiff provided to Auto Source and the information Auto Source input [into a computer program] to prepare and submit a DMV change of ownership form for the vehicle Plaintiff purchase[d].”

In granting Sirius’ motion, the Court held that “[l]ike the Supreme Court and the vast majority of other courts to have analyzed the issue, this Court interprets the DPPA’s definition of ‘motor vehicle record’ as requiring that the DMV be the source of the ‘record.’”  The Court further held that “[i]nterpreting the statute as Plaintiff suggests and construing a ‘motor vehicle record’ to include a driver license would render the definition’s use of both ‘record’ and ‘pertains to’ as surplusage because the driver license would be ‘pertaining’ to itself and ignore the requirement that it also be a ‘record.’”  Further, Andrew’s “reasoning would criminalize the conduct of, and create civil liability for, the Good Samaritan who finds a lost wallet and uses the name and address found on the driver license found in the wallet to return the wallet to its owner.  Acknowledging that a driver license is not itself a ‘motor vehicle record’ ‘contained in the records’ of the DMV avoids such absurd results.”

The Court ultimately concluded “that the undisputed facts establish that Defendant did not ‘use’ ‘personal information’ ‘from a motor vehicle record’ when it obtained Plaintiff’s name, address, phone number, and vehicle information from Auto Source’s [computer program] and the Postal Service’s change of address database.”  As such, the DPPA’s limits on marketing uses did not apply.

The case is Andrews v. Sirius XM Radio, Inc., No. 5:17-cv-01724 (C.D. Cal.).