Illinois continues to be a hotbed of privacy litigation, in large part due to Illinois’s landmark Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), which was enacted in 2008. Despite the flood of cases in the wake of Rosenbach v. Six Flags Ent. Corp., 2019 IL 123186, 129 N.E.3d 1197 (Ill. 2019), this is only the first BIPA class action lawsuit to proceed to trial. On October 12, 2022, in Richard Rogers v. BNSF Railway Company (Case No. 19-C-3083, N.D. Ill.), a federal jury in Chicago found in favor of a class of more than 44,000 truck drivers who alleged that BNSF Railway Company (BNSF) violated BIPA by unlawfully scanning employee fingerprints for identity verification purposes without giving notice and obtaining their prior written permission. U.S. District Judge Kennelly entered a judgment against BNSF for $228M in damages. This case highlights many important considerations for organizations deploying biometric technologies in Illinois, including the potential for vicarious liability for a vendor’s actions, and provides valuable insight into how damages in BIPA cases are calculated. This decision from the Illinois court demonstrates that defendants can face significant civil liability in BIPA litigation, and companies using or collecting biometric information should be aware of these risks.
Continue Reading First-Ever BIPA Trial – Jury Awards Staggering $228M in Damages