Judge rejects Clearview AI’s motion to move or dismiss biometric privacy suits, consolidates complaints

Judge rejects Clearview AI’s motion to move or dismiss biometric privacy suits, consolidates complaints

Bids by Clearview AI to dismiss or relocate a biometric privacy suit from federal court have been rejected, with U.S. District Court Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman ruling that the federal court has jurisdiction over claims under Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

Coleman declined to transfer the cases to the Southern District of New York, where the company is based, on grounds that courts in Illinois have jurisdiction, despite Clearview’s claims it did not specifically target residents of the state, or travel there to conduct business. The suit names the company, as well as CEO Hoan Ton-That and President Richard Schwartz.

The judge noted that Clearview has provided its service to hundreds of local government and law enforcement agencies, including police in Chicago, Rockford and Naperville, Illinois, and that those relationships had not been “random, fortuitous or attenuated.” Jurisdictional criteria does not require exclusive targeting of state residents or customers.

Holding the hearings in Illinois will not even inconvenience the parties, according to the eight-page ruling, as courts in the state are less congested than those in New York. Illinois courts are also more familiar with BIPA and have a more direct interest in protecting the privacy rights of state residents, Coleman wrote.

Three lawsuits brought by Illinois residents Anthony Hall, David Mutnick and Chris Marron, each filed earlier in the year, were also consolidated by Coleman, who gave the plaintiffs until August 31 to file a consolidated amendment to the complaint.

Clearview’s representatives in the case are David Prescott Saunders, Andrew J. Lichtman, Howard S. Suskin and Lee Wolosky of Jenner & Block LLP.

Clearview is also being sued by the ACLU.

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