Benjamin J. Wish of Todd & Weld obtained a judgment at trial in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts. The judgment included attorney's fees and punitive damages for a plaintiff businessman whose confidential and largely false criminal record information, including expunged records that were decades old, was published publicly.
After not having any interaction with law enforcement for decades, by the mid-2000s the businessman had built up a thriving granite business that came to be the second largest supplier of granite to Home Depot in New Jersey. In early 2006, however, his non-public criminal record information was published in a publicly filed court document, and also mailed to his creditors and business contacts, including Home Depot. Soon after, Home Depot stopped working with his company, and the company went into bankruptcy.
At trial, Mr. Wish proved that the defendants, a police officer with the Gardner police force and a court officer of the Gardner District Court, were the ultimate source of the criminal record information that became public. He demonstrated that both violated the Massachusetts Criminal Offender Record Information ("CORI") statute by accessing and disseminating the businessman's criminal record information when they falsely claimed he was shoplifting at a supermarket in order to procure that information. As the Court ruled in its decision, both defendants "willfully violated the CORI Act" by obtaining and sending into the world the businessman's confidential criminal record information when there was no legitimate law enforcement purpose for doing so.
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