My wife has had letter through our door regarding a scrape in a car park (between cars) at our local vets. The other car belonged to an employee of the vets. At the time both parties were happy and it was left unactioned. The letter was asking for repair costs to be paid.

That's the background.

The letter in question was addressed to Mrs X Watson XXXXXXX. "Watson" is my dog's name and Mrs X Watson XXXXXXXX is how the vet links the dog to the OWNER. The X's refer to an initial and surname.

My question: is this lady allowed to use her works database to look up my address for a matter unrelated to work?

Many thanks in advance


2 Answers 2


In the State of California, a persons name,address is considered Personal Information and is subject to several State regulations. You may have a cause of action here as the Vet or Vets employees are subject to the States Data Security laws. For Californians,their privacy is an "inalienable right" and the Vet clearly violated this right.

OTOH, your spouse violated Vehicle Code and Penal Code. The Vets employee could ( or may already have) reported a "hit and run", no matter how minuscule the damage is and could potentially be charged.

California Civil Code Section 1798.81.5(b) in relavent part states:-

"..A business that owns owns, licenses, or licenses maintains personal information about a California resident shall implement and maintain reasonable security procedures and practices appropriate to the nature of the information, to protect the personal information from unauthorized access, destruction, use, modification, or disclosure.."

The Vets business did indeed use a Californians personal information from unauthorized use when the Vets employee used that information to address a civil demand letter.

  • 1
    Where do you see any "hit and run" in the scenario where ""at the time, both parties were happy"? Falsely reporting a crime is, itself, a crime.
    – Upnorth
    Sep 21, 2017 at 15:02

That is a matter between her and her employer.

  • 1
    @Upnorth Based on the facts, spouse did not provide her address to the other party. Spouse assumed that it was ok to leave the scene without carying out formal procedures as the California Veh Code requires (VC 16025), thus creating a legal gap which was exploited by the other party. Even if no property damaged or person injured, California Vehicle Code 16025 requires drivers of vehicles involved with collisions to exchange, among other information, current home address and evidence of financial liability effectively making this a case where Spouse left the scene. Sep 21, 2017 at 18:23

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