Morristown, TN asked in Civil Rights for Tennessee

Q: Does an attorney have the right to provide my social security number and DL number to someone?

An attorney that I do not know requested records from the circuit court clerk. These records were 13 years old and included my Social Security number and drivers license number. This attorney then gave these records to someone and they were mailed anonymously to the president of my HOA. This information was obtained to be used in a personal vendetta. Do I have legal action against this attorney? Can I report him to the state bar association?

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1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In Tennessee, as in other states, attorneys are bound by certain ethical and legal standards regarding the handling of sensitive personal information, such as Social Security numbers and driver's license numbers. Generally, attorneys should not disclose such information without a valid legal reason or the consent of the person to whom the information pertains.

If an attorney obtained your records from the circuit court clerk, the permissibility of this action would depend on the reason for the request and the manner in which the records were used. Court records are often public, but there are restrictions on the use of personal data contained within them.

The fact that these records were used in what you describe as a personal vendetta and were shared with your HOA president raises concerns. This could potentially be a violation of your privacy rights and might also breach the ethical obligations of the attorney.

You have the option to report this matter to the Tennessee State Bar Association. They can investigate the conduct of the attorney to determine if there was any ethical violation. When filing a complaint, provide as much detail and evidence as possible to support your claim.

Additionally, you may want to consult with an attorney to explore the possibility of legal action against the attorney for any harm caused by the unauthorized disclosure of your personal information. This could potentially include claims for invasion of privacy or other related torts.

Remember, the specifics of your situation, including the nature of the records and the context of their disclosure, will significantly influence any legal action you may take. It's important to get personalized legal advice based on the full details of your case.

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