FOX 9's Kendall sues, claims cops snooped on driver's license info

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A lawsuit filed by a Twin Cities news anchor claims her name has been searched more than 3,800 times over 10 years through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's Driver and Vehicle Services database.

The Mankato Free Press reports FOX 9 Morning News anchor Alix Kendall filed the lawsuit, which claims her name was searched by police officers, sheriff's deputies and other public employees all over the state.

One of Kendall's attorneys, Jon Strauss, told the newspaper he believes many of the searches were the result of curiosity.

"She was shocked and disgusted to learn she had been looked up more than 3,800 times," Strauss said to the Free Press. "We believe this is the largest data breach in Minnesota history. Ironically, these people have been snooping into her life, but we can't find out who they were until we start gathering discovery information."

Strauss indicated information that can be obtained through the DVS system includes current and former addresses, current and former driver's license photographs, weight, height and, possibly, Social Security and medical information, according to the Free Press.

It's not the first time a Twin Cities media member has been involved in similar searches.

KSTP's Jessica Miles filed a lawsuit last fall after learning her driver's license information had been accessed by officers and other personnel from 180 different departments and agencies. Miles claimed her information was searched more than 1,380 times.

KSTP producer, Beth McDonough, also has filed suit against several state government entities after learning in March that more than 170 law enforcement employees had viewed her file nearly 500 times.

The Free Press reports Kendall's lawsuit is seeking more than $75,000 in damages. The lawsuit and others handled by the Sapientia Law Group are also trying to stop illegal access to license data, according to Strauss.

"Primarily, we want this to stop," Strauss told the newspaper. "We want news reporters to be able to go about their work without law enforcement officers being electronic peeping Toms."

The League of Minnesota Cities maintains a legal insurance trust for almost all of the cities named in Kendall's lawsuit. Darin Richardson, the league's senior claims supervisor, told the Free Press, the league is dealing with 1,164 claims made by 77 individuals against 217 cities or other trust members.

According to the newspaper, the cities Richardson is defending believe the lawsuits should be dismissed and they are against any changes to access rules for the DVS database.

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