The opinion of the court was delivered by: Roszkowski, District Judge.
Before the court are cross-motions for summary judgment. For
the reasons herein stated, this court denies plaintiff's motion
and grants defendant's motion.
Plaintiff, Lewis J. Jackson, has brought this suit for damages
claiming that Ms. Quandt, Director of the Veteran's
Administration Hospital, North Chicago, Illinois, intentionally
disclosed confidential information concerning plaintiff to a
third party without plaintiff's prior consent, thereby violating
the Privacy Act. 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b).
The parties agree that the facts are not in dispute. Plaintiff
Jackson was employed by the Veteran's Administration at its North
Chicago Hospital from May 16, 1976 to January 28, 1977, when he
resigned. At the time of his resignation, termination proceedings
were pending against plaintiff.
Sometime between plaintiff's termination and his subsequent
employment on May 17, 1977, a dispute arose between plaintiff and
Ms. Quandt regarding plaintiff's access to the Veteran's
On April 26, 1977, Ms. Quandt wrote a letter to plaintiff in
which she stated that she was imposing limitations on plaintiff's
access to the VA Hospital and in which she apparently warned
plaintiff that he would be subjected to criminal prosecution for
violation of those limitations.
On May 17, 1977, plaintiff obtained employment as a police
officer with the Department of Navy, Great Lakes, Illinois.
It is undisputed that on May 27, 1977, Ms. Quandt, without
obtaining plaintiff's consent, called Leroy Ellis, Chief of
Security at the Naval Base at Great Lakes, Illinois, and
plaintiff's supervisor, to relay to him that VA officials in
Washington, D.C. had told her that plaintiff Jackson had
threatened various VA personnel, and to ask Ellis whether the
Navy Security force and, therefore, plaintiff carried guns. In
addition, it is undisputed that Ms. Quandt further inquired as to
whether the Navy had reviewed plaintiff's references and previous
employment and stated that such a review would have shown that
plaintiff resigned from the VA pending termination for "poor
judgment in the performance of his duties." Ms. Quandt may also
have told Ellis that she had written a letter to plaintiff
excluding plaintiff from the hospital grounds except for certain
The sole question facing this court is whether the information
disclosed by Ms. Quandt to Mr. Ellis concerning plaintiff
constituted an unlawful disclosure within the meaning of the
Privacy Act since plaintiff's consent was not obtained.
Under the Privacy Act's provisions, any disclosure of
information covered by the Privacy Act is prohibited unless
authorized by the prior written consent of the individual whose
information is disclosed or unless authorized by one or more of
the Act's specific exceptions. See, 5 U.S.C. § 552a(b); Local
2047 v. Def. Gen. Sup., 423 F. Supp. 481, 483 (E.D.Pa. 1976)
aff'd. 573 F.2d 184 (4th Cir. 1978); see also, Note, The Privacy
Act of 1976: An Overview, 1976 Duke L.J. 301 (1976).
In the immediate case, defendant concedes that no prior consent
to disclose information was obtained from the plaintiff, and that
Ms. Quandt transmitted the information alleged in the complaint
to Mr. Ellis. Additionally, defendant does not contend that the
information was properly disclosed pursuant to an exception under
Rather, defendant's position, is that the information disclosed
is not covered by the Privacy Act.
Section 552a(b) of the Privacy Act provides, with certain