Mary Smigielski Speaks with Bloomberg Law on Pivotal Illinois Supreme Court BIPA Ruling

Chicago, Ill. (February 23, 2023) - Chicago Partner and Co-Chair of Lewis Brisbois’ Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) Practice Mary Smigielski spoke with Bloomberg Law for an article titled, “Illinois Supreme Court Allows Big Biometric Privacy Fines,” which discusses the Illinois Supreme Court’s recent and highly anticipated decision in Cothron v. White Castle System, Inc. regarding how claims accrue under BIPA.

As the article describes, and as discussed in Lewis Brisbois’ recent legal alert about the decision, Illinois’ highest court determined that a separate claim for damages may arise under BIPA each time a business fails to obtain employees’ or consumers’ permission to gather biometric data, or fails to disclose retention plans for that information. In reaching its conclusion, the court rejected the argument that claims under BIPA should accrue only at the first unlawful scan or transmission of biometric information.

Ms. Smigielski told Bloomberg Law that the White Castle decision likely will result in courts lifting stays on pending BIPA cases and allowing those cases to proceed. She also pointed out that many issues related to BIPA remain unanswered, such as which technologies are governed by BIPA, the extent of its extra-territorial application, when damages should be awarded, and how employers and other businesses should comply with consent regimes they may enact. “We’re still in the early stages of BIPA law,” Ms. Smigielski noted.

Ms. Smigielski, who co-founded Lewis Brisbois' BIPA Practice – the first in the nation – also serves as co-host of The BIPA Radar podcast series and as the head of the firm’s Chicago Labor & Employment team. She has been on the cutting edge of BIPA litigation, frequently providing commentary to the news media on the topic, including this White Castle decision. In addition to her BIPA work, Ms. Smigielski's practice includes class/collective actions and single-plaintiff employment litigation, administrative charges, nationwide counseling, training, and sensitive workplace investigations, including at the C-Suite level.

Read the full Bloomberg Law article here (subscription may be required).

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