On March 28, 2016, Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled in favor of Plaintiff Daryoush Taha, who is represented by his co-counsel Jonathan Shub of Kohn, Swift & Graf, P.C. The court granted Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment and denied Defendants’ motion for summary judgment.

Daryoush Taha filed a class action on behalf of himself and all Bucks County Prison inmates whose criminal history records had been published on the Bucks County Correctional Facility’s open website as well as on behalf of Pennsylvania citizens whose criminal history records were published on the websites of Defendants’ Unpublish LLC and CIA.

The class action complaint alleged that County Defendants released data from Plaintiff’s expunged arrest record to their publicly available electronic search tool in direct violation of the Pennsylvania Criminal History Record Information Act (“CHRIA”). In addition, Defendants Unpublish LLC and CIA unlawfully obtained and then posted details of Plaintiff’s expunged arrest record on their websites. Defendants profited from this unlawful act by collecting advertising revenue and charging individuals fees to remove their criminal arrest information.

County Defendants motioned for a summary judgment, claiming that they did not violate the Pennsylvania’s CHRIA. The CHRIA defines criminal history record information as “[i]nformation collected by criminal justice agencies concerning individuals…consisting of identifiable descriptions, dates and notations of arrests, indictments, information, or other formal charges and any dispositions arising therefrom.” The County Defendants claimed that every item listed must be present to constitute criminal history record information. Judge Beetlestone struck down the Defendants’ argument, stating that their interpretation of the statue “would inevitably lead to absurd…results”. The court also denied the County Defendants’ motion for summary judgment on the award of punitive damages and injunctive relief, allowing Plaintiff and the class to recover under those remedies.

Judge Beetlestone granted Plaintiff’s motion for partial summary judgment and found that Plaintiff’s “criminal history record information was wrongfully disseminated”. Read Judge Wendy Beetlestone’s complete opinion here.

 

Taha vs. Bucks County, et al., Case No: 12-0687.