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Supreme Court of Illinois
February 17, 2023, Opinion Filed
Docket No. 128004
[*P1] This case requires us to construe section 15(b) and 15(d) of the Biometric Information Privacy Act (Act) (740 ILCS 14/15(b), (d) (West 2018)) in an action alleging that an employer violated the Act when it repeatedly collected fingerprints from an employee and disclosed that biometric information to a third party without consent. Specifically, the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit certified the following question of law to this court: "Do section 15(b) and 15(d) claims accrue each time a private entity scans a person's biometric identifier and each time a private entity transmits such a scan to a third party, respectively, or only upon the first scan and first transmission?" Cothron v. White Castle System, Inc., 20 F.4th 1156, 1167 (7th Cir. 2021). ] We hold that a separate claim accrues under the Act each time a private entity scans or transmits an individual's biometric identifier or information in violation of section 15(b) or 15(d).
[*P2] I. BACKGROUND
[*P3] We recite the facts as provided by the Seventh Circuit in its certification ruling. See, e.g., Hernandez, 2020 IL 124661, ¶ 5, 443 Ill. Dec. 11, 161 N.E.3d 135. The controversy arises from a proposed class action filed by [**2] plaintiff, Latrina Cothron, on behalf of all Illinois employees of defendant, White Castle System, Inc. (White Castle). Plaintiff originally filed her action in the circuit court of Cook County against White Castle and its third-party vendor, Cross Match Technologies. Cross Match Technologies removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (28 U.S.C. §§ 1332(d), 1453 (2018)). Plaintiff later voluntarily dismissed Cross Match Technologies from her action and proceeded solely against White Castle in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
[*P4] According to her complaint, plaintiff is a manager of a White Castle restaurant in Illinois, where she has been employed since 2004. Shortly after her employment began, White Castle introduced a system that required its employees to scan their fingerprints to access their pay stubs and computers. A third-party vendor then verified each scan and authorized the employee's access.
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2023 IL 128004 *; 2023 Ill. LEXIS 146 **
LATRINA COTHRON, Appellee, v. WHITE CASTLE SYSTEM, INC., Appellant.
Notice: THIS DECISION IS NOT FINAL UNTIL EXPIRATION OF THE 21 DAY PETITION FOR REHEARING PERIOD.
Prior History: Cothron v. White Castle Sys., 20 F.4th 1156, 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 37593, 2021 WL 5998537 (7th Cir. Ill., Dec. 20, 2021)
Disposition: Certified question answered.
biometric, scan, private entity, identifier, collection, fingerprint, redisclose, disclose, disclosure, capture, accrues, damages, entity, third party, transmission, disseminate, privacy, violations, customer's, informed consent, accrual, secrecy, argues, plain language, authentication, Dictionary, legislative intent, statutory language, repeated, legally authorized
Business & Corporate Compliance, Computer & Internet Law, Privacy & Security, State Regulation, Governments, Legislation, Interpretation, Administrative Law, Enforcement, Remedies, Damages