Mary Smigielski Quoted by AP News on Facebook Privacy Suit Settlement

Chicago, Ill. (February 10, 2020) – Chicago Partner Mary A. Smigielski was recently quoted by AP News in their article “Unique Illinois privacy law leads to $550M Facebook deal,” which discusses the social media giant’s recent settlement in a case brought under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Ms. Smigielski is the co-chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Illinois BIPA Practice.

As the article notes, similar lawsuits have been brought against major tech companies such as Google and Snapchat, but most of the cases are filed against employers who use fingerprint scanning systems to track employees’ work hours. While supporters of the law claim that compliance with the law is not that difficult, Ms. Smigielski argued that the law can be burdensome on smaller businesses.

“Small and medium-size businesses really do not have the resources to defend these cases or pay some big settlement,” Ms. Smigielski told AP News. This is because the provisions of BIPA provide for a penalty of $1,000 per “negligent” violation and $5,000 per “reckless” or “intentional” violation, which can add up very quickly.

You can read the full AP News article here, which was also reprinted in the New York Times (subscription may be required) and several other news outlets.

Following the landmark 2019 Illinois Supreme Court decision in Rosenbach v. Six Flags, which held that a mere statutory violation of BIPA is sufficient to confer standing to sue in Illinois state court, Lewis Brisbois founded the first specialized BIPA Practice Group in the country, chaired by Ms. Smigielski and fellow Chicago Partner Josh M. Kantrow. Our BIPA team acts as defense counsel and monitoring counsel to employers, insurers, and other defendants in BIPA litigation, and provide BIPA-related counseling services.

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