Illinois Supreme Court Opens the Door to Wave of Data Litigation

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January 28, 2019

The Illinois Supreme Court last week lowered the threshold for lawsuits under the state’s Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). One defense attorney told Law360 that the decision will open businesses to “hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars in exposure."

The Court unanimously reversed an appellate court ruling in a lawsuit against Six Flags and said that a plaintiff can bring a suit under the law even if he or she does not allege a real-world harm. Defense attorney Justin Kay of the Drinker Biddle & Reath law firm said the Court now “has decided that BIPA is a 'gotcha' statute” that will open businesses to liability.

The Court’s ruling seems to be at odds with recent federal court rulings. Just last month, an Illinois federal judge tossed a similar BIPA suit against Google, saying that the plaintiffs did not show how the Google Photos app’s face templates caused concrete harm.