Lawyers examine stringency of biometric privacy rules as Illinois’ BIPA lawsuits continue

Lawyers examine stringency of biometric privacy rules as Illinois’ BIPA lawsuits continue

As lawsuits filed under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) continue to pile up, a trio of attorneys from law firm Husch Blackwell has examined what makes the law so stringent in an article for the Cook County Record.

They consider the rulings that confer Article III standing on plaintiffs for procedural violations of the Act, the conditions for removal to, and subsequently from federal court, and the meaning of “each violation” in the Act, which ultimately remains unresolved, and could have enormous implications on the amount plaintiffs are eligible for in damages, and therefore whether they meet the jurisdictional threshold for Federal Court. The attorneys also note that voluntary participation in biometric data collection does not affect the notice requirements of BIPA.

The impact of arbitration agreements, which can supersede BIPA, the standards for considering violations willful or reckless, constitutional defenses, and insurance coverage of BIPA suits are also examined.

The article concludes with a series of recommendations, which amount to determining whether BIPA applies to you, and if so following its rules.

A team of attorneys from Blank Rome LLP recently provided Biometric Update readers with an explanation of what businesses need to know about BIPA, and their options for defense if they are targeted by a suit under the Act.

Federal law pre-emption argument rejected

A federal court in Illinois has ruled that BNSF Railway must face a BIPA suit filed by a former employee, as the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, and the Federal Railroad Safety Act do not replace its obligations under state law, Bloomberg Law reports.

The usual informed consent violations are alleged by a truck driver who used to work for BNSF.

Dr. Pepper seeks dismissal

Bloomberg Law also reports that a motion filed by Keurig Dr. Pepper to move its BIPA case, again alleging violations of the informed consent requirements, from Cook County to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois has been granted.

Diversity jurisdiction can be applied to cases with parties from different states and potential damages exceeding $75,000. One difference from the majority of BIPA cases is that the plaintiff, Gio Villanueva, is representing himself.

Other BIPA cases newly filed include one against Caterpillar Inc. reported by Bloomberg Law, one against long term care facility Belleville Behavioral Health and Nursing Center and its parent company Integrity Healthcare Communities reported by the Madison-St. Clair Record, and one against Apple Zebra CFS and St. George Warehouse reported by the Cook Country Record.

Each is a potential class action filed over alleged violations of the informed consent rules by former employees.

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