The floodgates open – Illinois Supreme Court issues landmark ruling in biometrics case

In a unanimous decision on January 25, 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court found that a plaintiff need not show actual harm to seek relief under the state’s Biometric Information and Privacy Act (BIPA). This is welcome news for plaintiffs’ attorneys who have already used BIPA as a vehicle to file dozens of class action lawsuits against businesses across a wide swath of industries in each of the last few years.

  • According to the Illinois Supreme Court, there is an inherent right to privacy associated with biometric information, which can include data relating to fingerprints, retinas, gait and voice.
  • The decision, Rosenbach v. Six Flags, is at odds with many federal decisions, but will pave the way for plaintiffs’ attorneys to bring even more class action lawsuits under BIPA in Illinois state court.
  • BIPA provides for recovery of statutory damages of up to $5,000 per violation, plus attorneys’ fees, including for failure to abide by the law’s strict consent requirements relating to collection, storage and use of biometric data.

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