May 13, 2019

Preliminary settlement reached in BIPA case

On May 9, 2013, a preliminary settlement was reached by the parties in a class action brought under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), 740 ILCS 14/1, et seq.  The unopposed motion for class certification and approval of the settlement of $1,550,000, to be distributed among the estimated 1,690 class members, requires approval by the court. 

The plaintiffs are current and former employees of the defendants, Washington & Jane Smith Home (“Smith”) and other senior living facilities and individuals associated with Smith, along with Kronos, Inc., a manufacturer of biometric timekeeping devices.  The complaint, filed in September 2017,  alleged that Smith requires employees to use the biometric devices when registering their arrival and departure from work, and that Smith violated BIPA by failing to provide collection, use and dissemination information to the employees, failing to obtain a written release, failing to publish a retention and destruction schedule in accordance with the statutory requirements, and by sharing the employees’ biometrics with a third party, Kronos.  The plaintiffs allege that they have suffered an injury in fact based on the violation of their legal rights, and that they run a material risk that their biometric data will be accessed unlawfully by unknown third parties. 

BIPA provides for a private right of action including recovery of $1,000 or actual damages,  whichever is greater, for each negligent violation, and $5,000 or actual damages for each intentional or reckless violation.