Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Court Dismisses DEA Agent's Lawsuit Over Leaked Shooting Video

On January 17, 2012, the federal appellate court for the District of Columbia dismissed a privacy lawsuit brought by a DEA after a video of him accidentally discharging his weapon was released on the internet.  The agent discharged his weapon, injuring himself, during a presentation to students at a local school.  One of the parents was recording the presentation and turned the video over to the DEA shortly after.  It was later copied and distributed to various people within the DEA.  The officer never learned how it was released publicly, but the video was widely viewed on the internet.

The officer brought claims under federal and Florida law, alleging a public disclosure of private facts.  While the court noted the DEA's conduct was"far from a model of agency treatment of private data," the court dismissed the claim, noting "[n]o liability attaches 'for giving further publicity to what [a] plaintiff himself leaves open to the public eye.'”