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Mary Smigielski, Josh Kantrow Discuss BIPA on "Decoding Cyber Risks" Podcast

Chicago, Ill. (January 26, 2021) - Chicago Partners and Co-Chairs of Lewis Brisbois’ Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) Practice Mary A. Smigielski and Josh M. Kantrow recently participated in a podcast on BIPA for McGriff Insurance Services, Inc.’s "Decoding Cyber Risks" series. In the first installment of this two-part episode, titled, “Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) Deep Dive: Part I,” Ms. Smigielski and Mr. Kantrow discussed the components of BIPA, who the law impacts, and recent notable cases.

During the 30-minute podcast, Ms. Smigielski first described the history of BIPA and its purpose, explaining that it potentially opened the door for companies to be liable for astronomical amounts of damages. Then, calling BIPA “a pretty scary statute,” Mr. Kantrow reviewed the various types of biometric identifiers that BIPA covered and explained the difference between BIPA and other state statutes. In commenting upon how BIPA will continue to impact biometric litigation and companies outside of Illinois, Ms. Smigielski noted, “The plaintiffs’ bar is being very creative in their theories.” Mr. Kantrow agreed, stating that plaintiffs’ attorneys “are going to try to stretch the Illinois statute as far as they can.”

Ms. Smigielski and Mr. Kantrow also described how class actions have settled under BIPA, specifically describing two high-profile BIPA cases and other instructive cases as well. In doing so, Ms. Smigielski explained, “It all is continuing to evolve, which is why it’s really important for companies who are involved in this type of litigation to really have lawyers who know what they’re doing and who are really on top of this and what’s happening. And, this is not an area in which somebody should be dabbling.”

Ms. Smigielski has been on the cutting edge of BIPA litigation, frequently providing commentary to a number of outlets on the topic and co-authoring an Insight article for Bloomberg Law on the potential nationwide implications of BIPA during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to co-founding Lewis Brisbois’ Illinois BIPA Practice, the first in the nation, she is also the head of Lewis Brisbois’ Labor & Employment Practice in Chicago.

Mr. Kantrow defends class action litigation brought against Illinois-based companies under BIPA, provides counsel on the emerging BIPA legal landscape, and provides strategic direction to address BIPA compliance, insurance coverage, and litigation. Clients frequently retain him to litigate complex, high exposure cases throughout the country. In addition to serving as Co-Chair of Lewis Brisbois’ BIPA Practice, Mr. Kantrow is also a vice-chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Professional Liability Practice.

Listen to the full "Decoding Cyber Risks" episode here. Part II of this discussion will be available in the coming weeks.


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