OVERVIEW OF THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974

CIVIL REMEDIES

F. Principles Applicable to All Privacy Act Civil Actions

4. Jury Trial

The Act is silent on this point, but every court to have considered the issue has ruled that there is no right to a jury trial under the statute. See Harris v. USDA, No. 96-5783, 1997 WL 528498, at *3 (6th Cir. Aug. 26, 1997); Stewart v. FBI, No. 97-1595, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18773, at **7-9 (D. Or. Sept. 29, 1999) (magistrate's recommendation), adopted, No. 97-1595, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 18785 (D. Or. Nov. 24, 1999); Flanagan v. Reno, 8 F. Supp. 2d 1049, 1053 n.3 (N.D. Ill. 1998); Clarkson v. IRS, No. 8:88-3036-3K, slip op. at 8 (D.S.C. May 10, 1990), aff'd, 935 F.2d 1285 (4th Cir. 1991) (unpublished table decision); Williams v. United States, No. H-80-249, slip op. at 13-14 (D. Conn. Apr. 10, 1984); Calhoun v. Wells, 3 Gov't Disclosure Serv. (P-H)  83,272, at 84,059 n.2 (D.S.C. July 30, 1980); Henson v. United States Army, No. 76-45-C5, 1977 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16868, at *1 (D. Kan. Mar. 16, 1977). But cf. Tomasello v. Rubin, No. 93-1326, slip op. at 3-4, 19 (D.D.C. Aug. 19, 1997) ("guided by" advisory jury verdict in awarding Privacy Act damages), aff'd, 167 F.3d 612, 616-17 (D.C. Cir. 1999) (recounting fact of advisory jury verdict as to Privacy Act claims).


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