Recent Proliferation of Lawsuits Under New Jersey’s Daniel’s Law

3 min read

Plaintiffs' attorneys recently have filed a series of lawsuits in New Jersey, seeking damages based on alleged violations of Daniel's Law (N.J. Stat. § 56:8-166.1). The suits allege that various website operators have violated provisions of Daniel's Law by making available the home addresses and unpublished home telephone numbers of law enforcement officers (including by making such information available on an online searchable database) following the receipt of a nondisclosure request. The officers have purportedly assigned their claims to Atlas Data Privacy Corporation, who sent thousands of automated nondisclosure requests to the defendants from "" email addresses as a precursor to the lawsuits.

Daniel's Law was enacted in response to the death of Daniel Anderl—the son of New Jersey federal judge Esther Salas—who was shot and killed by a self-described "anti-feminist" lawyer who had targeted Salas.1 Daniel's Law aims to prevent the unauthorized disclosure of personal information of "covered persons" (i.e., active or retired law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and child protective investigators—along with immediate family members residing in the same household). Under Daniel's Law, following the receipt of a nondisclosure request from a covered person, or an "authorized person"2 permitted to send such a request on their behalf, businesses and other private entities must stop disclosing or otherwise making available the home address and unpublished home telephone number of such covered person within 10 business days. 

Under the law, "disclose" is defined broadly to mean "to solicit, sell, manufacture, give, provide, lend, trade, mail, deliver, transfer, post, publish, distribute, circulate, disseminate, present, exhibit, advertise, or offer, and shall include making available or viewable within a searchable list or database, regardless of whether a search of such list or database is actually performed."

Potential penalties under Daniel's Law are as follows: 

  1. actual damages, but not less than liquidated damages computed at the rate of $1,000 for each violation of this act;
  2. punitive damages upon proof of willful or reckless disregard of the law;
  3. reasonable attorney's fees and other litigation costs reasonably incurred; and
  4. any other preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines to be appropriate.

Given the significant potential exposure associated with mass claims under Daniel's Law, and the short 10-business-day time frame for responding to nondisclosure requests, we recommend that companies receiving requests under Daniel's Law promptly take steps to assess and mitigate risk by locating any relevant information in their systems and deleting or suppressing it. These suits represent the first large-scale test cases for Daniel's Law and we expect to see further follow-on litigation; accordingly, it will be critical for companies hosting data of New Jersey residents to stay apprised of developments and ensure they have systems in place to quickly identify and respond to nondisclosure requests.

1 See, e.g., CBS News: Federal judge whose son was killed in ambush: "My son's death cannot be in vain"
2 Under N.J. Stat. § 56:8-166.1, "authorized person" means "a covered person or any of the following persons hereby authorized to submit or revoke a request for the redaction or nondisclosure of a home address on behalf of a covered person: (1) on behalf of any federal judge, a designee of the United States Marshals Service or of the clerk of any United States District Court; (2) on behalf of any covered person who is deceased or medically or psychologically incapacitated, a person acting on behalf of the covered person as a designated trustee, as an estate executor, or pursuant to a written power of attorney or other legal instrument; and (3) on behalf of any immediate family member who is a minor and who is otherwise entitled to address redaction or nondisclosure pursuant to this act, the parent or legal guardian thereof."


White & Case means the international legal practice comprising White & Case LLP, a New York State registered limited liability partnership, White & Case LLP, a limited liability partnership incorporated under English law and all other affiliated partnerships, companies and entities.

This article is prepared for the general information of interested persons. It is not, and does not attempt to be, comprehensive in nature. Due to the general nature of its content, it should not be regarded as legal advice.

© 2024 White & Case LLP