Joe the Plumber loses privacy suit 

Even if you don’t like him, from a private citizen standpoint, the fact that Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher lost a lawsuit he filed against the state of Ohio after bureaucrats there leaked his personal info during the 2008 campaign is bad news:

U.S. District Court Judge Algenon L. Marbley said Wurzelbacher could not show that he had been harmed by the snooping.

Three top managers of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services ran database checks of Wurzelbacher, who briefly vaulted to fame in October 2008 when he confronted then-candidate Barack Obama about the effects of his tax policies on Wurzelbacher’s Toledo-area plumbing business. He then teamed up with Obama’s opponent, Sen. John McCain, at several campaign events and was mentioned several times by McCain in the campaign’s final debate.

Wurzelbacher sued the state in March 2009. He claimed that the search came as retaliation for his speaking out against Obama and that it had violated his constitutional privacy rights.

Marbley disagreed.

“Without allegations of a more specific and concrete nature as to the harms he suffered, (Wurzelbacher) does not meet the constitutional threshold required to state a claim for First Amendment retaliation,” the judge wrote.

One hopes that this was purely a technicality argument and that Wurzelbacher will appeal his suit.

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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