W.D.Wash.: Demand for records from federal govt didn’t state a Washington state law claim

A demand for records from the federal government doesn’t state a claim under Washington state law when plaintiff grudgingly gave up the records. Daviscourt v. United States, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 246610 (W.D. Wash. Dec. 10, 2020)*:

Washington recognizes a claim for invasion of privacy under the common law. Reid v. Pierce County, 136 Wash.2d 195, 206 (1998) (citing the Restatement (Second) of Torts). To establish an invasion of privacy claim, a plaintiff must prove the following elements: (1) “[A]n intentional intrusion, physically or otherwise, upon the solitude or seclusion of plaintiff, or his private affairs;” (2) “[W]ith respect to the matter or affair which plaintiff claims was invaded, that plaintiff had a legitimate and reasonable expectation of privacy;” (3) “[T]he intrusion would be highly offensive to a reasonable person; and” (4) “[T]hat the defendant’s conduct was a proximate cause of damage to the plaintiff .” Doe v. Gonzaga Univ., 143 Wash.2d 687, 705-706 (2001), reversed on other grounds, 536 U.S. 273 (2002), referencing Restatement (Second) of Torts § 652B (1977).

The Court finds Plaintiff has failed to state a claim for invasion of privacy. Plaintiff asserts Agent Isenberg’s request for documents in connection with his investigation constitutes an intrusion into Plaintiff’s affairs, citing an October 27, 2015 letter from Agent Isenberg “demanding” documents from Plaintiff. (Resp. at 13). However, taking Plaintiff’s claims as true, Plaintiff voluntarily provided documents to Agent Isenberg, albeit begrudgingly, and therefore he had no legitimate or reasonable expectation of privacy as to those documents. Thus, Plaintiff has failed to meet the second element to establish an invasion of privacy claim. Further, Plaintiff has not shown this alleged intrusion, done pursuant to an investigation initiated by Plaintiff, would be highly offensive to a reasonable person or that Agent Isenberg’s conduct proximately caused his alleged damage. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s claim fails.

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