codified at 18 U.S.C. § 2710 (the "Act"), as well as Plaintiffs' common law privacy rights. By Order, dated March 30, 1993, this Court dismissed without prejudice Plaintiffs' Order To Show Cause which sought a preliminary injunction for that purpose. Subsequently, the video information was received into evidence at Plaintiff Dirkes' disciplinary hearing. As a result of that hearing, the Department terminated Plaintiff Dirkes from his employment.
As mentioned above, Plaintiffs' original complaint proffered three counts: (1) violation of the terms of the Videotape Privacy Protection Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2710; (2) a common law claim for intentional and unjustified intrusion by the Defendants into the private affairs and solitude of Plaintiffs and (3) a common law claim based on Defendants' public disclosure of private facts. All three claims request that the video information in question be prohibited from distribution in any legal proceeding by way of permanent injunction and that the information be destroyed. In addition, Plaintiffs seek compensatory and punitive damages as well as attorneys' fees. The Defendants move this Court for summary judgment on Count I of the Complaint, which alleges a violation of the Videotape Privacy Protection Act. 18 U.S.C. § 2710. Accordingly, the Court will not address the second or third counts of Plaintiffs' complaint.
A. Summary Judgment Standard
The standard for granting summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 is a stringent one. Summary judgment is appropriate only if all the probative materials of record "show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c); Hersh v. Allen Prods. Co., 789 F.2d 230, 232 (3d Cir. 1986); Lang v. New York Life Ins. Co., 721 F.2d 118, 119 (3d Cir. 1983). In determining whether there remain any genuine issues of material fact, the court must resolve all reasonable doubts in favor of the nonmoving party. Meyer v. Riegel Prods. Corp., 720 F.2d 303, 307 n. 2 (3d Cir.1983); Smith v. Pittsburgh Gage & Supply Co., 464 F.2d 870, 874 (3d Cir. 1972); Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1987). Significantly, "at the summary judgment stage the judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).
Under the standards announced by the Supreme Court's trilogy in Celotex Corp v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986), Anderson, 477 U.S. 242, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986) and Matsushita, 475 U.S. 574, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986), "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48 (emphasis in original). Indeed, where the moving party has made a properly supported motion for summary judgment, it is incumbent upon the nonmoving party to come forward with specific facts to show that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. Id. at 248. Thus, once the moving party has carried its burden of establishing the absence of genuine issues of material fact, the nonmoving party "may not rest upon mere allegations or denials" of its pleadings, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e), but must produce sufficient evidence that will reasonably support a jury verdict in its favor, id. at 249; J.E. Mamiye & Sons, Inc. v. Fidelity Bank, 813 F.2d 610, 618 (3d Cir. 1987) (Becker, J., concurring), and not just "some metaphysical doubt as to material facts." Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586; see also, Quiroga v. Hasbro, Inc., 934 F.2d 497, 500 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 940, 112 S. Ct. 376, 116 L. Ed. 2d 327 (1991) (In opposing summary judgment, a non-movant may not "rest upon mere allegations, general denials, or ... vague statements."); Schoch v. First Fidelity Bancorporation, 912 F.2d 654, 657 (3d Cir.1990) ("unsupported allegations in [a nonmovant's] memorandum and pleadings are insufficient to repel summary judgment").
B. Liability Under the Videotape Privacy Protection Act
Defendants have moved for summary judgment on Count I of Plaintiffs' complaint, which asserts a violation of the Videotape Privacy Protection Act. See 18 U.S.C. § 2710. Congress enacted the Videotape Privacy Protection Act "to protect [certain personal information of an individual who rents video materials] from disclosure." S. Rep. No. 100-599, 100th Cong., 2d Sess. at 16 (1988). The impetus for enacting the measure arose as a result of Judge Robert Bork's 1987 Supreme Court nomination battle, during which a Washington, D.C. newspaper obtained a list of 146 video tapes the Bork family had previously rented from their neighborhood store. Id. at 5. Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were outraged by the invasion into the Bork family's privacy. Both houses of Congress acted quickly to outlaw certain disclosures of such clearly private information, resulting in the Videotape Privacy Protection Act.
Judicial recognition of the contours of an individual's right to privacy has been an evolutionary process. In their seminal 1890 Harvard Law Review article, The Right to Privacy, Justices Warren and Brandeis emphasized the importance of protecting an individual's rights as our society developed:
That the individual shall have full protection in person and in property is a principle as old as the common law; but it has been found necessary from time to time to define a new the exact nature and extent of such protection. Political, social, and economic changes entail the recognition of new rights, and the common law, in its eternal youth, grows to meet the demands of society.
Samuel D. Warren and Louis D. Brandeis, The Right to Privacy, 4 Harv. L. Rev. 193, 193 (1890). The authors go on to discuss how "recent inventions and business methods" necessitated the need to judicially protect an individual's right "to be let alone." Id. at 195. A century later, our society has firmly embraced the concept of privacy, as evidenced by Congressional statutes protecting this right as it exists in various forms. Cf. Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. § 1232(g) et seq. (recognizing the individual's right to privacy with regard to access and disclosure of student records); The Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a (recognizing an individual's right to privacy with regard to personal information stored by federal agencies); Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970, 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. (recognizing an individual's right to privacy with regard to access and disclosure of credit records); The Tax Reform Act of 1976, 26 U.S.C. § 6103 (recognizing an individual's right to privacy with regard to disclosure of tax returns); The Right to Financial Privacy of 1978, 12 U.S.C. § 3401 et seq. (recognizing an individual's right to privacy with regard to disclosure of financial records by banks to governmental agencies) and The Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, P.L. 98-549 (recognizing an individual's right to privacy with regard to the disclosure of a subscriber's cable viewing habits). These statutes reflect the Congressional desire to keep an individual's right to privacy apace with advances in technology that increase exponentially the chances that an individual's privacy can be breached. S. Rep. No. 100-599, 100th Cong., 2d Sess. at 2 (1988). The Video Privacy Protection Act is only the most recent example of such Congressional initiatives. Commenting on the Act, Senator Leahy echoed the sentiments of Justices Warren and Brandeis:
In an era of interactive television cables, the growth of computer checking and check-out counters, of security systems and telephones, all lodged together in computers, it would be relatively easy at some point to give a profile of a person and tell what they buy in a store, what kind of food they like, what sort of television programs they watch, who are some of the people they telephone...