BMV policy needed to prevent identity theft

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The inconvenience of a few Hoosiers outweighs the very real threat of identity theft, so the trial court was correct in denying a preliminary injunction against the Bureau of Motor Vehicle's verification of records using Social Security Administration data, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today. Judge Patricia Riley dissented, believing the BMV needs to have legislation amended before it can institute its policy.

Although the class of affected plaintiffs showed the BMV's challenged policy violates constitutional guarantees of due process, a preliminary injunction wouldn't be in the public's interest, wrote Judge Cale Bradford for the majority in the interlocutory appeal of Lyn Leone, et al. v. Commissioner, Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles, et al., No. 49A02-0804-CV-377. The plaintiffs - a class of people who received letters from the BMV notifying them that their information on record didn't match that from the Social Security Administration - sought a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the policy of revoking licenses or ID cards if the BMV records aren't updated.

While the class appeal of the denial of its motion for a preliminary injunction was pending, the BMV filed Indiana Administrative Code Title 140, Rule 7-1.1-2, which appears to adopt the policy of verifying records against data from the SSA.

The majority determined the BMV's new policy doesn't violate Indiana law, and there's no authority that explains why requiring a person to update information with the SSA or BMV violates the law, wrote Judge Bradford. The public interest in preventing identity theft requires that one must "bear the consequences, including the inconveniences, of changing one's name."

The new policy does violate due process because the BMV acted without ascertainable standards for current license and ID holders. Nowhere in the first two letters is the concept of "updating" information with the BMV explained, wrote Judge Bradford, and the notices are inconsistent. In addition, the majority believed the rule promulgated by the BMV after the litigation began only serves to increase the confusion. Although the BMV can require a match between its and the SSA's information, it failed to give the class members fair notice regarding this requirement, he wrote.

The motion for preliminary injunction failed because it would clearly disserve the public interest in preventing and detecting identity theft. Suspending the program would have the effect of restoring a well-known avenue for fraud and identity theft.

"We simply cannot agree that the inconvenience of a few Hoosiers (which is really all the record before us shows) outweighs the very real threat that identity theft poses to all of us," he wrote. "We do not doubt that the loss of a driver's license or identification card could be highly inconvenient, but we imagine that, as a general rule, being the victim of identity theft would be far worse."

Judge Patricia Riley in her dissent wrote the majority ignored the "factual history" of the plaintiffs that are being "hassled" by the BMV's policy shift. The three named plaintiffs of the class in this case had used the names the BMV had on file for numerous years and in different records, such as on the Roll of Attorneys or to pay bills. They all had valid drivers' licenses at the point the BMV sent them letters threatening to revoke them because of discrepancies. According to I.C. Sections 9-24-11-5(a)(1) and 9-24-16-3(b)(1), the plaintiffs provided their "full legal names" to the BMV.

"If the BMV now thinks that in the day and age of identity theft that applicants for drivers licenses or identification cards should provide their name as it appears in the SSA database, then the BMV has the opportunity to approach our legislature and seek an amendment to Indiana Code Sections 9-24-11-5(a)(1) and 9-24-16-20 3(b)(1)," she wrote.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  2. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

  3. (A)ll (C)riminals (L)ove (U)s is up to their old, "If it's honorable and pro-American, we're against it," nonsense. I'm not a big Pence fan but at least he's showing his patriotism which is something the left won't do.

  4. While if true this auto dealer should be held liable, where was the BMV in all of this? How is it that the dealer was able to get "clean" titles to these vehicles in order to sell them to unsuspecting consumers?

  5. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless [ ] Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. GOD BLESS THE GOVERNORS RESISTING! Count on the gutless judiciary to tie our children down and facilitate the swords being drawn across their throats. Wake Up America ...