Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 | 4:36 p.m.
A second lawsuit has been filed over incidents in 2006 and 2007 in which at least one Metro police officer provided unauthorized information to a private investigator in behalf of Jeff Guinn, son of former Gov. Kenny Guinn.
Attorneys for Las Vegas contractor Stephen P. Quinn filed suit in Clark County District Court on Thursday against current or former Metro officers Kai Degner and Paul Osuch.
The suit covers ground previously reported in a March lawsuit filed by Quinn, owner of Precision Construction Inc., against Las Vegas private investigator James Thomas, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
The suits relate to another lawsuit filed in 2006 by Quinn against Jeff Guinn asserting that after a business dispute between the two, Guinn made false and defamatory statements about Quinn to the Nevada State Contractors Board and to members of the community.
The March lawsuit, which has been moved to federal court, asserts that after Quinn sued Guinn in 2006, Guinn hired Thomas, a former Metro officer, to investigate Quinn.
Thomas obtained information on Quinn and his associates through his "contacts within Metro who continously and systematically gave him access to confidential and proprietary information of citizens of the state of Nevada without their knowledge or consent," Quinn charged in court papers in the suit alleging defamation and invasion of privacy.
Attorneys for Thomas, in moving Oct. 7 for partial summary judgment, argued Thomas' reports to Guinn on Quinn were privileged, were provided only to Guinn and were not divulged publicly. They argued an asset investigation of Quinn was conducted without malice and in order to provide information to Guinn.
And Metro, in its Nov. 2 motion for summary judgment, argued it can't be held responsible for the unauthorized action of an employee who was violating department policy when he provided information to Thomas for the investigation of Quinn.
In that suit, Metro is accused of violating Quinn's civil rights.
Attorneys for Metro said the department's internal investigation found Osuch queried 72 license places through "JLINK," Metro's access point for DMV records; and Quinn was queried by Osuch through the law enforcement database "SCOPE."
"Accessing SCOPE and disseminating CHI (criminal history information) without a legitimate purpose is expressly forbidden by LVMPD and employees with access to law enforcement databases are constantly given notice of this policy," Metro said in its filing.
"LVMPD makes thousands of queries into SCOPE every day and since 2005, only 12 employees have been sustained for improperly accessing and disseminating CHI," Metro said.
"When Osuch accessed SCOPE for a personal purpose, he took a step which was unauthorized by the department," Metro said, adding it "cannot be vicariously liable for Osuch's alleged misconduct."
Metro added that Osuch retired before he could be interviewed by its internal affairs investigators.
The judge in the federal case has not yet ruled on the motions for summary judgment.
In his latest lawsuit filed in state court last week, Quinn asserts that Guinn and Degner were friends and that Degner had invested thousands of dollars in real estate ventures managed by Guinn, owner of Aspen Financial Services.
"Despite the lack of any criminal records or charges against Quinn, Degner and/or Osuch released all of the contents of the 'SCOPE' report to Thomas, including Quinn's birth date, address and Social Security number, for the personal gain and benefit of Thomas and his client, Guinn," the suit charges.
In his investigation, Thomas at the request of Guinn performed background searches on everyone who drove into the Precision Construction parking lot, the suit charges. It says he obtained confidential information about more than 240 individuals, including SCOPE reports, dates of birth and Social Security numbers.
The suit alleges that despite "the lack of any reasonable basis to accuse Quinn of illegal activity," Degner and/or Osuch used their positions within Metro to launch a formal investigation and had Metro officers conduct surveillance on Quinn at his place of business.
Metro's investigation concluded with no arrests or criminal charges "due to the baseless nature of the criminal accusations against Quinn," the suit says.
The defendants have not yet responded to the new suit, which alleges invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Interrogatories in the federal case show five Metro employees, including Osuch and Degner, had queried the SCOPE database under the name "Stephen P. Quinn." Degner at the time was assigned to internal affairs.
Guinn is not a defendant in either pending case. The initial lawsuit filed against him by Quinn was settled last year.