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Path Cleared for Biometric Privacy Suits, Companies Encouraged to Review Practices

On Friday, January 25, 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an opinion that should prompt companies to immediately assess their practices and policies regarding the collection, possession, use, storage, and destruction of biometric data. These practices are governed by an Illinois statute called the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

As reported in our recent article, companies may choose to collect biometric data, such as employee fingerprints, to achieve workplace efficiencies, including more accurate timekeeping, fraud prevention, and onsite security. Companies may also collect the biometric data of their customers for a variety of business reasons. Under BIPA, a "biometric identifier" means a retina or iris scan, fingerprint, voiceprint, or scan of hand or face geometry. "Biometric information" means information based on an individual's biometric identifier (regardless of how it is captured, converted, stored, or shared).

The Illinois Supreme Court confirmed that plaintiffs may maintain lawsuits for technical violations of BIPA, even if they have not suffered harm or actual damages. This ruling will most certainly invite a flood of new litigation, on top of the numerous BIPA cases that are currently pending.

© 2019 Much Shelist, P.C.

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About this Author

Laura A. Elkayam Employment Lawyer Much Shelist Law Firm
Associate

Laura helps employers implement best practices to promote compliance with federal, state, and local labor and employment laws, while remaining mindful of each company’s unique business strategies and objectives.

Laura advises employers on matters pertaining to nearly every aspect of the employment relationship, including hiring, termination, leaves of absence, and wage and hour issues. She counsels clients on compliance with a variety of employment laws, including Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA...

312.521.2770
Principal

Jim is a highly regarded legal advisor and litigator who taps his extensive trial and appellate experience to help clients identify potential issues, prevent costly business disruptions and minimize the impact of complex commercial disputes. Over the course of his career, Jim has counseled entrepreneurs, startups, mid-cap companies, and large, publicly traded corporations. He has represented businesses, owners, executives and directors in federal and state courts across the country, including in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, New York, and Oklahoma.

“The best peacemakers are often those who have been in battle themselves. Having gone to the mat many times for plaintiffs and defendants, I know firsthand the risks involved with litigation. I use that knowledge to help my clients make decisions that can reduce potential exposure and achieve business objectives.”

Jim’s litigation, arbitration and settlement experience is as broad as the industries in which his clients operate. He has served as lead counsel on single-plaintiff cases involving personal-injury claims, legal and medical malpractice, negligence, partnership disputes, shareholder derivative actions, foreclosures and construction contracts, as well as large, potentially catastrophic civil and criminal matters, including alleged product liability, breach of fiduciary duty, environmental contamination, toxic torts, securities violations, misrepresentation of defects and other claims. Among other sectors, Jim has represented clients in the insurance and reinsurance, manufacturing, distribution, environmental cleanup, utilities, entertainment, medical devices, and real estate industries.

Jim’s breadth of experience is matched by the specificity and depth of his legal knowledge. He immerses himself in each matter to ensure that he has a full understanding of the business and legal issues at hand, and is committed to providing clear, meaningful counsel delivered in terms his clients understand.

In recent matters, Jim obtained a jury verdict for his client in a complex breach of contract case filed in Queens County, New York Supreme Court by a prominent mechanical contracting company that, at one time, was publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange. Jim obtained crucial admissions from the CEO of the company on cross examination, which led to a successful closing argument and an ultimate verdict in his client’s favor. The case took almost two weeks to try. Jim also successfully tried to verdict an indemnity case filed in federal court by a Fortune 500 corporation in which the jury found favorably for his client, a former publicly traded company. He has secured summary judgment, declaratory judgment and dismissal with prejudice in a broad range of cases and has also prevailed at the appellate level in cases of first impression. As a legal counselor, he meets regularly with CEOs, CFOs, in-house counsel and other corporate executives to review and develop risk-management strategies and goals.

Jim serves as an adjunct professor at Chicago-Kent College of Law where he teaches “Legal Negotiation—Theory and Practice.” He also is the author of publications on topics such as discovery issues in reinsurance disputes and ISO additional insured endorsements.

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