You may never have heard of it or even been harmed, but chances are good if you live in Illinois that you are a plaintiff in one of hundreds of class action lawsuits it has spawned.

It’s called BIPA, Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act. It regulates collection and storage of biometric information, including fingerprints and facial recognition data. But unlike the two other states with similar laws, Illinois lets individuals sue and they need not show actual damages.

For plaintiffs’ lawyers, that’s pouring blood into shark infested waters. Hundreds of BIPA class action lawsuits have now been filed in Illinois against employers in particular, according to the Cook County Record. Adding to the frenzy, Facebook recently announced a $500 million settlement for alleged misuse of its facial recognition technology under BIPA. Last week, a BIPA class action lawsuit was filed against Google, too, though in a California court. According to the Cook County Record, from Jan. 21 to Feb. 3 alone, 11 new BIPA-related class action lawsuits were filed in Cook County Circuit Court against a range of companies, including:

  • Senior housing management company Atria;
  • Hartgrove Hospital in Chicago;
  • T-Mobile store operator Wireless Vision;
  • Water management solutions manufacturer Prinsco;
  • Menasha Packaging Company;
  • Foodservice provider Compass Group USA;
  • Salad kit packer and distributor Fresh Express;
  • Norfolk Southern Railway; and
  • Pharmaceutical packaging company Nosco.

Cook, Madison and St. Clair counties in Illinois are labelled “judicial hellholes” by the American Tort Reform Association. BIPA’s “no-injury class action lawsuits” have contributed to that status, as explained in Biometric Update.

Solutions are the biggest cause of problems, says the adage. The Illinois General Assembly proved it with its response to biometric and internet privacy concerns. BIPA became law in 2008 after being introduced by Senator Terry Link (D-Waukegan), who later allegedly wired up to help the feds in exchange for leniency on his own problems.

And there’s this from the American Tort Reform Association:

Cook County Circuit Courts alone collect over $111 million annually in filing fees and other revenue, more than all other Illinois counties combined. Though litigation abuse clearly hurts the area’s business climate, it seems that an ingrained dependence on litigation industry-derived revenues has overwhelmed common sense.

UPDATE: The A.P. now has a good story on latest developments including the fight over whether to amend BIPA. It’s one of many national stories on the topic critical of the Illinois law, yet Springfield is oblivious.

-Mark Glennon

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Mike Mike

Per the ILGA website, not a single legislator, in committee or on the floor, voted against the 10 page SB 2400 in the 95th GA. Despite the four Senate amendments, four Senate Committee votes, two House amendments and one House Committee vote during that 8 month legislative process, not a single person filed a witness slip for or against the BIPA legislation. PA 95-994 excluded state and local government, government contractors, and financial institutions. Do onto others as you would do onto yourself not. The law mandated the creation of a Biometric Information Privacy Study Committee and provided a deadline… Read more »

Mike Mike

BIPA is significant enough to have a dedicated Wikipedia page, although it hasn’t been updated since October 29, 2019.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biometric_Information_Privacy_Act

Public Act 95-0994 (PA 95-0994) was passed under the leadership of lawyers Governor Rod Blagojevich, Senate President John Cullerton, and House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Mike Mike

Senate Bill 2400 (SB 2400) was signed on October 3, 2008 while Democrats controlled the Governors office, State Senate, and State House.

Mike Mike

All three leaders were Chicago Cook County Democrat lawyers, with that party being notorious for slating Cook County judges during primary elections.

The next such election is March 17, 2020.

debtsor

It’s too late. Many, if not most, of those judicial offices are uncontested.
Of note, I’ve heard through the grapevine, that you shouldn’t ever, never ever, run for a judgeship in Cook County, and win, without first getting Madigan’s, Burkes or the Cook County Democrat party approval. The few judges that are successful always get the worst courtrooms. And they stay there forever. And ever. Hope you enjoy being a ‘substitute’ judge, or handling awful child support cases, or orders of protection …

Mike Mike

Most Cook County judgeships in the Democrat primary are contested, including the two 1st District Appellate Court vacancies and the heavily contested Charles Freeman Supreme Court vacancy.

http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/service/view-all-candidates

debtsor

I quickly perused the D ballot and roughly 1/3rd are contested, the other 1/3rd have the person with the Irish name (and the person without) and the remaining third are free for alls. So I was wrong at least for the primaries. In the general though, this is most certainly the case, with most districts having no republican challenger. What’s really disturbing though is the (R) ballot. So, so many primaries with no Republican running at all for state seats. Kind of sad, really. I’m not giving up my career to be trampled as part of the minority party in… Read more »

Mike Mike

There are 37 Cook County judgeships on the March 17, 2020 ballot. 5 of the 37 (14%) are uncontested in the Democratic primary. Thus 86% of the Cook County judgeships on the March 17, 2020 ballot have more than one choice. With the exception of Krista Butler, all of the following uncontested candidates are current Cook County judges. Krista D. Butler for the Rodney Hughes Brooks vacancy in the 1st Cook County Subcircuit. Tyria B. Walton for the Rhonda Crawford vacancy in the 1st Cook County Subcircuit. Daniel Edward Maloney for the Denise Kathleen Filan vacancy in the 3rd Cook… Read more »

Illinois Entrepreneur

For democrats this is a feature, not a bug. Our political system was designed by lawyers, and they are not shy about using the law for their self-interest.

That interest, of course, is not about justice, but about pilfering money from hard-working companies who dare attempt to navigate the money trap that is Illinois.

Nothing will change.