Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Court Upholds Peace Officers' Right to Sue Over Dissemination of Personnel Records

In Olivera et al. v. Siemens, et al., Case No. S-CV-0029390, the Placer County Superior Court upheld peace officers' right to seek redress for dissemination of their personnel records, overruling a city's demurrer.  The officers filed suit for invasion of privacy after a former IA sergeant took and distributed a copy of their IA files to officers at another agency.  The city then filed a demurrer, challenging the ability of peace officers to bring a civil suit over disclosure of their personnel files. The Court found the officers could proceed with their claims for invasion of privacy and intrusion into private affairs, noting the alleged dissemination of their personnel records was "sufficiently outrageous" to trigger liability under Hernandez v. Hillsides, Inc. (2009) 47 Cal.4th 272.

The Court also upheld the officers' right to proceed with their claims on intentional infliction of emotion distress, negligent infliction of emotion distress, and injunctive relief ordering the defendants to retrieve and destroy unlawfully disseminated records.  The plaintiffs are represented in the matter by Mastagni Law attorneys David E. Mastagni, James B. Carr and Isaac S. Stevens