Can I sue the DMV?

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Latest post Thu, Feb 27 2014 3:41 AM by freddy14. 14 replies.
  • Fri, Sep 3 2010 1:05 PM

    • ciroc02
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Sat, Mar 6 2010
    • CA
    • Posts 16

    Can I sue the DMV?

    Hello,

    Just to make long and confusing story short, the DMV sent a CA ID with my picture and signature (w/ other persons information on it) to someone else. I am trying to go into the healthcare profession and this person with my picture ID has a not so clean background. She has already posted this ID on facebook, of which I am not a fan.

    But the original mistake was the DMV's doing. I called them and they said they were not liable. How so? The ID is not counterfeit, it's from the DMV. I've been running around for the past 2 weeks like a chicken with its head cut off, and I'm running out of steam. I am stressed out and I don't know what to do next.

    So, can I sue the DMV?

    Thank you.

  • Fri, Sep 3 2010 1:09 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    Sure, you can sue anyone you like.

    What are your damages?  Next, consider, how much it will cost to hire a lawyer to do this.  I have a feeling it's not worth it.  Besides that, the DMV simply made a mistake.  They did not intentionally send off your ID to the wrong person.  Mistakes sometimes happen.  You can likely sue them if you like.  I just don't think it's worth it, nor do I think you could win.  But that's up to you.

  • Fri, Sep 3 2010 1:26 PM In reply to

    • LynnM
      Lawyer
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    • Joined on Mon, Apr 3 2000
    • CA
    • Posts 28,248

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    You can but it would be a waste of time because the are not liable. The reason they are not is because that's the way the system is set up - the government is not generally liably for torts.

  • Fri, Sep 3 2010 6:07 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,645

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    High odds a unit of state government is immune under soverign immunity- 



  • Fri, Sep 3 2010 6:39 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    ciroc02:
    I called them and they said they were not liable. How so? The ID is not counterfeit, it's from the DMV.

    The federal and state governments possess what the law calls "sovereign immunity." This the principle, carried over from the law regarding the British crown, the government is immune from liability for money claims asserted against it except where it has expressly waived that immunity. The federal and state governments have a variety of statutes that waive immunity for certain types of harm. But these statutes are very specific and are strictly construed in the state's favor. Thus, your first hurdle here is identifying a CA statute or CA state constitutional provision that waives the state's immunity for claims regarding DMV license screw-ups.

    If you can find that, your next hurdle here is proving that the state was negligenct and thus liable to you. Not all mistakes give rise to negligence claims. The issue will be whether the state had taken reasonable steps to ensure its system worked properly. If it did, then it is not liable, even though an occasional mistake gets made.

    Finally, there is the issue of damages. You are only entitled to recover for the actual financial harm caused by this. Aside from your name (if your signature is legible) and the photo, the other person got no other infomation about you from the DMV. Your name and photo are not generally protected information to begin with. What has this other person done with the information that has harmed you financially?

  • Sat, Sep 4 2010 12:36 PM In reply to


    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    You can't sue DMV but you can file a police report and I would suggest you print out the facebook page and gather whatever other information you have to give to the police. 

  • Sat, Apr 20 2013 5:47 PM In reply to

    • Jennie Weil
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Sat, Apr 20 2013
    • CA
    • Posts 1

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    My case is different. The title was stolen to my vehicle. A man forged my name on a bill of sale, and with no corroborating documention, i.e., pink slip or license plates, DMV assigned my vin to a car he had (most likely stolen and he needed a clean vin) It is 2 years later and we are about to resolve the issue and have a vin assigned back to my car and revert title to me again. Countless hours of work and frustration, I never expected to be reimbursed for. BUT, they are charging us over $500 to correct title when it was a corrupt DMV agent who did not even follow their own SOP's before "selling" my clean vin to a con man.

    Maybe this does not fall under a suit. But, isn't there a way to file a claim against DMV? Or, perhaps they have an Internal Affairs that would go after the agent in Oakland who did this, and then reverse the charges? 

    Just a little side info...the only reason it is being fixed in only 2 years is because my husband is a traffic cop and actually had contacts to initiate an investigation. I can't even imagine how the average citizen would ever get it resolved. Is their immunity that absolute?

     

     

     

  • Sat, Apr 20 2013 6:00 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    You're making the same mistake that people make who want to sue the bank when somebody forges a check.

    They know they won't get anywhere suing the forger so they think the bank has lots of money and is easy to find so sue the bank.

    Doesn't work that way.

    I admit I don't know what happened or what kind of bureaucratic slip-up allowed the "con man" to succeed but whatever it was, your recourse is against the "con man", not the DMV.

     

    • The right of the people 
    • to keep and bear arms,
    • shall not be infringed.
  • Mon, Aug 12 2013 4:52 PM In reply to

    • Y sing
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Mon, Aug 12 2013
    • NY
    • Posts 3

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    I just had an issue with the NY DMV they issued a wrong title and registration for my new car, by putting a wrong Vin number, which caused my plates and registration and plates to be suspended, after bringing this to the DMV's attention it took four week to correct this mistake and I was left without a car for the entire four weeks, had to cancel vacation and had trouble commuting to work, do you think i can sue the DMV for negligence in correcting their mistake timely?

  • Mon, Aug 12 2013 5:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    The problem I see is that assuming you may sue the DMV, at best your damages here would be the cost of a rental car for the 4 weeks that your vehicle was not able to be legally driven. You aren't likely to get damages beyond that. In general, in NY suits involving most state agencies are suits against the state itself, and thus it is the state you would name in the lawsuit, not the specific agency. The suit would be filed in the NY Claims Court for suits against the state, and generally the lawsuit must be filed within 90 days from when the claim arose. The court rules for the Court of Claims are different than for the Supreme Court (which is where most lawsuits against private parties in New York are filed) and to succeed in the Claims Court I'd recommended that you have a lawyer represent you. This is not as informal as filing a lawsuit in small claims court, and if you screw up on procedure that alone might kill your case. The problem is, you'd likely spend more on a lawyer than you'd win from the state in a lawsuit. You are, of course, free to try it yourself if you like though. 

  • Mon, Aug 12 2013 6:30 PM In reply to

    • Y sing
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Mon, Aug 12 2013
    • NY
    • Posts 3

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    I was thinking in going to the small claims court , why do you think i should not go to small claims ?

    thanks for your advise , 

  • Mon, Aug 12 2013 6:53 PM In reply to

    • CJ
      Consumer
    • Top 50 Contributor
    • Joined on Mon, Aug 2 1999
    • CA
    • Posts 1,674

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    First of all I'm curious how you found this person on Facebook?  Is it someone you know? If it is, I'm wondering if they had something to do with it?  Just a long shot.

    I don't see how this could effect you.  In order for someone to use a CA ID they have to show it.  And you stated the picture is of you not them.  So anyone looking at it will know the holder and the person in the picture are not the same.  So what's theirs?  The Hight, Weight, Eyecolor, and address?  Not sure how this could damage your future carreer.

    Just apply for a new one.

     

     

  • Mon, Aug 12 2013 7:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    Y sing:
    I was thinking in going to the small claims court , why do you think i should not go to small claims ?

    Because under NY law, you cannot sue the state in small claims court. Most lawsuits against the state for a money judgment must be filed in the New York Court of Claims. That court has exclusive jurisdiction over those matters. There are some state authorities that must be sued in the state Supreme Court. The legislation authorizing the particular authority will tell you if some court other than the Claims Court is the court in which you must sue. If you sue in small claims court, the state will likely move to dismiss, which will almost certainly be granted. By the time that's done, your 90 day period to file the lawsuit in Court of Claims would likely be over, and you'd be prevented from litigating there as well due to the statute of limitation expiring. If you want to do this, you must file it in the right court. 

    Note that "small claims court" is not the same thing as the Court of Claims. In New York, "small claims court" is the small claims division of local courts, i.e. city or village courts. The state may not be sued in those courts.

  • Mon, Aug 12 2013 10:14 PM In reply to

    • Y sing
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Mon, Aug 12 2013
    • NY
    • Posts 3

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    Do you know were I can read up the basic for court of claims? you are writing about " if you screw up on procedure it can kill the case" this case seems very straight forward? is it really that complex?

    is there any way that i can find some to help me with this case for a minimal cost ? an intern?

    I feel like going forward with this claim because I have nothing to lose, but i want to try me best , 

     

  • Thu, Feb 27 2014 3:41 AM In reply to

    • freddy14
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Thu, Feb 27 2014
    • CA
    • Posts 1

    Re: Can I sue the DMV?

    I was out of Country and my friend sent a check stating that is for the license plate of  my car  to DMV for renewing the registration and this check was cashed before the deadline and back the of the cashed check confirms the processing of this check for my car's registration by DMV.
    I come back after 6 months and go to DMV and they charge me the registration plus penalties.. I ask my friend and he provides me with the copy of the check. I go to DMV and they ask me to fill up a form for getting my money back .. I mail this to DMV and after 3 months and spending hours on the phone, I finally go to DMV and talk to a manager who calls sacramento and they tell me .. they claim they have sent a check to my friend after 2 months and the reason he has not received it because he has a different address which is not true.. DMV asked me ro go after my friend to send DMV his correct address so they could send him a check and I would file another form for the penalties I have paid.. they are not owning up for the mistake they have maid  I have spent more than 20 hours on this so far when the check my friend had sent them before the deadline should have finalized the whole thing.. I am still paying for the mistake they have made

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