Lewis Brisbois Creates New Illinois BIPA Practice Group

Chicago, Ill. (February 13, 2019) – Lewis Brisbois has formed a new sub-practice within its Labor & Employment Practice that will focus solely on claims relating to Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA, or “the Act”). The new group will be chaired by Chicago Partners Josh M. Kantrow and Mary A. Smigielski, who have extensive experience counseling and litigating under BIPA.

In the wake of the Illinois Supreme Court decision in Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corporation, the threshold required for an individual to bring suit under BIPA has been drastically reduced. This will almost certainly lead to an uptick in this type of litigation being brought against companies that collect or use biometric information in the Prairie State.

Lewis Brisbois’ new BIPA team is at the cutting-edge of defense in the recent wave of class action litigation being brought against Illinois employers and other groups under the Act, and they recognize the difficult challenges that the Rosenbach decision raises for organizations, both in terms of compliance with the Act and in avoiding costly violations.

As Ms. Smigielski noted recently in an article published by DataGuidance, “The consequences for non-compliance [for businesses] are potentially staggering,” as BIPA allows plaintiffs to recover $1,000.00 per negligent violation and $5,000.00 per intentional or reckless violation. Legal arguments have been crafted by the plaintiffs’ bar to assert potentially astronomical recovery, for instance, as much as $20,000 per employee, per day, for use of a biometric timekeeping device without consent.

Organizations that collect and/or maintain biometric information within the State of Illinois will need certainty as to their obligations under BIPA. Visit our BIPA Practice page to learn more about the new team.

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