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Google seeks dismissal of face biometric privacy suits and accuses firms of ‘forumshopping’

Google seeks dismissal of face biometric privacy suits and accuses firms of ‘forumshopping’

Google has alleged in court filings that two law firms have brought duplicate cases against the company under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), and accused the firms of “blatant forumshopping,” according to Law360.

All five cases allege the Google Photos service violated BIPA by capturing biometric “face templates” without meeting the Act’s informed consent requirements. A pair of cases filed separately by Ahdoot & Wolfson PC and Carey Rodriguez Milian Gonya LLP in Illinois federal court were later consolidated, and then appealed to the Seventh Circuit after a summary judgement found the plaintiffs lacked standing.

The two firms have brought a combined five cases against the tech giant in three different jurisdictions, according to filings in a California federal court. Google is asking the court to dismiss the case. The company argues the Seventh Circuit court in Illinois, where an appeal is currently being heard, can provide the same relief as the federal court, while allowing it to continue could results in inconsistent rulings and waste judicial resources.

According to Google, the two firms then filed cases with the same complaint in Illinois state court in 2019, which have been stayed. Then, following the massive Facebook settlement which remains unapproved, they filed again, in the same California district as that case was heard in. Google has also argued for that suit’s dismissal.

Each case involves the same claims, the same putative class, and the same defendant, according to a filing, per Law360. “The law does not permit such blatant forumshopping and duplicative litigation.”

Google is requesting the case be dismissed or transferred, or barring those options at least stayed until the earlier actions are heard. The company argues that the “first-to-file” principle applies.

The tech giant is also facing allegations that it violated both BIPA and COPPA with its classroom tools.

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