Recently, the Illinois Appellate Court for the First District issued a significant decision on the question of which statute of limitations govern claims for violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). In its opinion, the Court ruled that claims for unlawful profiting from or disclosure of biometric data, those brought under sections section 15(c) and (d) of the BIPA, are subject to a one year limitations period while claims involving violations of the notice, consent and retention requirements, those brought under sections 15(a), (b), and (e) of the BIPA, are subject to a limitations period of five years. This decision should bring much needed clarity to class-action plaintiffs and defendants alike.
The BIPA, one of the most robust privacy statutes in the country, imposes various obligations on anyone that collects, stores or uses biometric identifiers such as fingerprints, retina or iris scans, voiceprints, or face geometry from Illinois residents. Failure to comply with the BIPA’s requirements can be costly as violations of the statute entitle successful plaintiffs to statutory damages ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 for each violation (plus attorney fees). This can add up quickly as claims for violations of the BIPA are frequently brought as a class action as we have seen in recent years.
The underlying case was brought by two former drivers for Black Horse Carriers, a trucking and logistics company. The plaintiffs filed the case as a class action. In their lawsuit, the former drivers alleged that Black Horse failed to obtain consent to use drivers’ fingerprints or to institute a retention schedule. They also accused the company of unlawfully disseminating their biometric data by sharing fingerprints with a third-party vendor that processed timekeeping records for the company. Continue reading ›