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Businesses are closely watching four biometric privacy cases that could knock the wind from BIPA

Businesses are closely watching four biometric privacy cases that could knock the wind from BIPA
 

Will employers get their first win against Illinois’ landmark biometrics law? The second half of the year is expected to see four significant privacy cases.

In one, that state’s supreme court is expected to hear a challenge to the Biometric Information Protection Act using the state’s workers compensation law.

A second case, brought by White Castle System, would prevent plaintiffs from claiming each unlawful biometric scan or disclosure as a new BIPA claim.

The remain two would settle whether plaintiffs have one, two or five years to make a BIPA claim.

The first case, involving the workers’ comp law, would overturn an Illinois appellate court ruling in favor of employees of the company that owns the Symphony Bronzeville nursing home on Chicago’s South Side.

An employee said requiring a fingerprint scan without following BIPA rules is a violation of those rules.

The employer asked the Illinois Supreme Court to consider that the workers’ comp law supersedes BIPA., according to the Cook County Record. The case began in 2017, and was filed on behalf of Symphony employee Marquita McDonald.

A previous article in the Record reported that Symphony claims the law “preempts any ‘statutory right to recover damages from the employer … for injuries incurred in the course of … employment.”

Based in part on a state supreme court ruling, a three-judge appeals court hearing the Symphony case found that plaintiffs do not have to show actual harm in order for them to prevail against employers in BIPA cases.

The second case in question also has the potential to change BIPA’s scope.

White Castle, renowned for its guilty-pleasure tiny burgers, wants the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court to overturn a lower court ruling holding that plaintiffs can claim each BIPA violation, according to Law360.com.

In 2018, former employee Latrina Cothron claimed White Castle violated BIPA requirements when it made her scan her fingerprints to sign on each day for work. The company says precedent demands that the law be interpreted as counting violation once per person.

The final cases involve attempts to limit the number of BIPA cases that can be filed and, by extension, the size of classes.

Illinois assigns a five-year statute of limitations to all laws that do not state a limitation. According to Law.com, trial courts largely have decided BIPA, which does not state time limits, is a five-year law.

Illinois-based Ring Container Technologies is insisting before the state’s Third District Appellate Court that BIPA falls under personal injury torts, which have a two-year limit to file for damages.

Black Horse Carriers, arguing before Illinois’ First District Appellate Court that one year should be the limit.

There are no schedules for any of these cases.

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