Illinois Supreme Court Opens Floodgates for Class Action Litigation under State’s Biometric Privacy Law

Biometric Update

In recent years, putative class action lawsuits under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) have increased substantially due to the rapid adoption of biometric technology applications by businesses—such as biometric fingerprinting of employees to provide secure building access, biometric scans to authenticate transactions on mobile applications, and biometric time clocks that use fingerprint scanning or facial recognition to track employee time and attendance.

To date, those lawsuits have seen mixed results; a good portion filed in federal court fail due to plaintiff’s inability to establish Article III standing in the absence of any alleged actual injury/harm sustained as a result of the alleged BIPA violation. But in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., 2019 IL 123186 (Ill. 2019), the Illinois Supreme Court significantly altered the playing field in terms of BIPA litigation in state courts when it ruled plaintiffs may pursue a claim for damages and injunctive relief for mere technical violations of the BIPA—even where no actual harm/damage is sustained.

The opinion is significant for data privacy and class action litigators alike, as it will likely lead to a significant uptick in the number of BIPA class actions in the foreseeable future. So too does it open the door to significant potential exposure for companies utilizing biometric information as part of their business operations, whereby plaintiffs do not need to allege (or establish) actual injury/harm to maintain a cognizable claim pending in state court under Illinois’s BIPA.

To read the full article, please click here.

“Illinois Supreme Court Opens Floodgates for Class Action Litigation under State’s Biometric Privacy Law,” by Ana Tagvoryan, Jeffrey N. Rosenthal, and David J. Oberly was published in Biometric Update on June 7, 2019.