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United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
September 14, 2021, Argued; December 20, 2021, Decided
[*1158] Sykes, Chief Judge. Latrina Cothron works as a manager at an Illinois White Castle hamburger restaurant where she must scan her fingerprint to access the restaurant's computer system. With each scan her fingerprint is collected and transmitted to a third-party vendor for authentication. Cothron alleges that White Castle did not obtain her written consent before implementing the fingerprint-scanning system, violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. She brought this proposed class-action lawsuit on behalf of all Illinois White Castle employees.
White Castle moved for judgment on the pleadings based on the statute of limitations. The restaurant argued that a claim accrued under the Act the first time Cothron scanned her fingerprint into the system after the law took effect in 2008. That was more than a decade before she sued, making her suit untimely under the longest possible limitations period. Cothron responded that every unauthorized fingerprint [*1159] scan amounted to a separate violation of the statute, so a new claim accrued with each [**3] scan. That would make her suit timely for the scans within the limitations period.
The district judge rejected White Castle's "one time only" theory of claim accrual and denied the motion. But he found the question close enough to warrant an interlocutory appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). Cothron now asks us to certify the question to the Illinois Supreme Court.
We agree that this issue is best decided by the Illinois Supreme Court. Whether a claim accrues only once or repeatedly is an important and recurring question of Illinois law implicating state accrual principles as applied to this novel state statute. It requires authoritative guidance that only the state's highest court can provide.
Full case includes Shepard's, Headnotes, Legal Analytics from Lex Machina, and more.
20 F.4th 1156 *; 2021 U.S. App. LEXIS 37593 **; 2021 WL 5998537
LATRINA COTHRON, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. WHITE CASTLE SYSTEM, INC., Defendant-Appellant.
Prior History: [**1] Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 19 CV 00382 — John J. Tharp, Jr., Judge.
Cothron v. White Castle Sys., 467 F. Supp. 3d 604, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 104795, 2020 WL 3250706 (N.D. Ill., June 16, 2020)
Disposition: QUESTION CERTIFIED.
biometric, scan, fingerprint, accrues, collection, disclosure, accrual, aggrieved, redisclose, privacy, cause of action, certification, argues, private entity, federal court, particularized, concrete, limitations period, single-publication, disseminate, violations, disclose, inflicts, repeated, damages, transmission, third-party, principles, restaurant, pleadings
Business & Corporate Compliance, Computer & Internet Law, Privacy & Security, State Regulation, Civil Procedure, Justiciability, Standing, Injury in Fact, Constitutional Law, Case or Controversy, Elements, Torts, Invasion of Privacy, Intrusions, Appeals, Standards of Review, De Novo Review, Governments, Legislation, Statute of Limitations, Time Limitations, Computer & Internet Law, Civil Actions, Defamation, Intentional Torts, Defamation, Libel, Defenses, Statute of Limitations, Appellate Jurisdiction, Certified Questions