The judge of the Henry County Probate Court, against whom a GCO member had filed a motion to have her held in contempt (for continuing to violate the Privacy Act regarding social security numbers on GFL applications), has asked a federal court for permission to file a response to the motion more than two weeks after her response was due.Â The motion for contempt, the probate judge’s motion for more time, and the GCO member’s response (along with earlier documents in the case) can be viewed here.
Archive for the 'SSN required for application' Category
A GCO member has filed a motion to have Henry County Probate Judge Kelley Powell held in contempt of federal court for her failure obey a court order regarding requests for social security numbers.Â In the 2007 case, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia declared that Judge Powell had violated the federal Privacy Act and ordered her to provide the notice required by Section 7(b) of the Act, including “by what statutory or other authority the information is requested” if she asks for SSNs.Â It was reported on Georgiapacking.org that Judge Powell has been asking for SSNs without providing this notice.Â The member has asked that Judge Powell be held in contempt, that all SSNs collected since the injunction was entered be purged from Judge Powell’s records, and that a court appointed monitor be established to report to the court whether Judge Powell is abiding by the injunction.Â A copy of the motion, and earlier documents in the case, may be viewed here.
A GCO member has settled a long-standing case in federal court against the Carroll County Probate Court.Â The first-ever case challenging the request for SSNs from GFL applicants resulted in an earlier settlement with the Georgia Department of Public Safety and a permanent change in the GFL application form (SSNs are no longer requested on the form, even optionally).Â In the settlement with the probate judge, Judge Betty B. Cason agreed not to request SSNs at all, represented that she purged all SSNs from her GFL application records, and agreed to pay $52,500 in costs and attorney’s fees.Â A copy of the settlement agreement can be viewed here.
The Georgia Department of Public Safety and a GCO member have settled a 2-year old case in federal court regarding social security numbers and employment information being requested of firearms license applicants.Â The DPS is responsible for promulgating the forms used by probate courts for applications.Â Under the terms of the settlement, DPS will not use or create any forms requesting SSN or employment information.Â A copy of the settlement agreement can be viewed here.
GCO and Cherokee County Probate Judge Kipling McVay have resolved a federal lawsuit brought by GCO and member Rebecca Breed over Judge McVay’s practice of requiring SSNs of GFL applicants. In the settlement, Judge McVay will be ordered by the federal court not to request SSNs of GFL applicants and to expunge from her records the SSNs of GCO members. GCO members as of November 21, 2007 may send an email with their name and date of birth to email@example.com, requesting that their SSN be expunged from Judge McVay’s records. In order to qualify, members must have applied for a GFL in Cherokee County, but they need not be current Cherokee County residents. Requests must be received by December 14, 2007.
The order is available here.
GCO has reached a settlement with the Cobb County Probate Court in a lawsuit brought by GCO in federal court over the requirement to provide SSNs when applying for a GFL. In the terms of the settlement, Cobb County will be prohibited from requesting SSNs of any applicant, will be required to expunge GCO members’ SSNs from their records, and will be required to pay GCO’s attorney’s fees.
If you are a GCO member as of 11/7/07, and you applied for a GFL from Cobb County and provided your SSN, and you wish to have your SSN expunged from Cobb County’s records, send an email requesting the expungement to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your request should include the name under which you applied and your date of birth. Requests must be received by the end of November to be honored.
Special thanks go to GCO member Chad Slater who brought this matter to GCO’s attention and who fought for his privacy and the privacy of his fellow GCO members.
Recognition also goes to the Cobb County attorney’s office, who negotiated this settlement rather than engage in needless protracted litigation.
The settlement must be approved by the federal court. Such approval is expected quickly. The approved order will be posted here when it is available.
The Probate Judge of Cherokee County has answered GCO’s complaint and filed a motion to dismiss GCO’s federal lawsuit, in which GCO seeks an injunction requiring the judge to comply with the Privacy Act regarding SSNs and GFL applications. GCO has responded to the motion, explaining why the case should go forward. The documents may be viewed here:
Thirty-one minutes after she was emailed a copy of a complaint being filed against her in federal court for refusing to accept GFL applications without SSNs, the Cherokee County probate judge’s office agreed to accept an application without the SSN. The complaint has been modified to reflect that fact:
GCO has filed lawsuits in federal court against the probate judges of Cobb and Cherokee counties, for violations of the federal Privacy Act (related to SSNs) and for violating Georgia law (related to employment information) in conjunction with GFL applications. The Cobb complaint may be viewed here:
and the Cherokee complaint may be viewed here:
The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia has denied the Henry County Probate Judge’s motion to reconsider an earlier ruling in the federal court. The earlier ruling found the probate judge had violated the federal Privacy Act (related to SSNs) and the Georgia Weapons and Firearms Act (related to issuing GFLs within 60 days). The probate judge asked for reconsideration, based on an earlier decision of the Court of Appeals of Georgia in a different case (from Coweta County). The federal court found the two cases distinguishable, and said the facts in the Coweta County case were not present in the Henry County case.
The federal court also ordered the Henry County Probate Judge to pay the plaintiff’s (a GCO member’s) costs and attorney’s fees in the amount of $7,721.31. The Order, and other documents in the case, can be viewed here: