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Transportation Brief: Staggering Jury Award in Fingerprint Collection Case

by Chip Andrewscavage, Alaina  C. Hawley

January 31, 2023

A class of truck drivers recently won a $228 million judgment in the first jury trial under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The Illinois drivers alleged the defendant, BNSF Railway Co., collected their biometric information via a fingerprint reader for identification verification purposes and to gain access to defendant’s facilities. The fingerprint readers were supplied by and operated by a third-party technology company retained by the defendant. At the conclusion of a five-day trial, the jury found the defendant had not only violated BIPA, but it did so intentionally or recklessly (rather than negligently). That finding quintupled plaintiffs’ damages. Although defendant has notified the court of its intent to appeal, this judgment will undoubtedly pique the interest of plaintiffs’ counsel to identify other Illinois companies that may be inadvertently collecting biometric identifiers from employees, contractors, or visitors—either directly or via third parties—without following the strict procedures required by BIPA. Companies are reminded to review internal procedures to ensure compliance with BIPA.

 

 


Scopelitis’ Transportation Brief® is intended as a report to our clients and friends on developments affecting the transportation industry. The published material does not constitute an exhaustive legal study and should not be regarded or relied upon as individual legal advice or opinion.


 

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