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Judge denies Facebook motion to throw out class-action suit


The “concrete injury” standard set by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving search engine company Spokeo in 2016 does not prevent a class-action suit against Facebook for violating Illinois’ biometric privacy laws from proceeding, according to a judgement delivered this week and reported by Bloomberg.

The suit had previously been delayed while a verdict was reached in Spokeo. The plaintiffs argued that Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) gave them a “property interest” in the biometric information which Facebook had harmed, constituting “concrete injury.”

Facebook countered that “Each plaintiff admitted at his deposition that he has suffered no harm from Facebook’s alleged conduct.”

“When an online service simply disregards the Illinois procedures, as Facebook is alleged to have done, the right of the individual to maintain her biometric privacy vanishes into thin air,” Donato wrote, according to Bloomberg. “The precise harm the Illinois legislature sought to prevent is then realized.”

District Judge James Donato ruled against the latest attempt by Facebook to have the suit thrown out after previously rejecting a claim that the State of laws of California, where the company is based, take precedence over the laws of Illinois, where the plaintiffs live. The venue for the case, however, was relocated from Chicago to San Francisco.

Plaintiffs could win damages of $1,000 to $5,000 for each use their images should they win their suit.

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