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Howe v. Speedway LLC

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

May 31, 2018, Decided; May 31, 2018, Filed

No. 17-cv-07303

Opinion

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

At the beginning of his employment at a Speedway gas station, Plaintiff Christopher Howe was required to scan his fingerprint, which his employer used to authenticate his identity and track his time. Howe initially brought this putative class action in Illinois state court against Defendants Speedway LLC ("Speedway") and Marathon [*2]  Petroleum Co. ("Marathon"),1 arguing that Defendants collected and stored his and similarly-situated individuals' fingerprints in violation of Illinois's Biometric Information Privacy Act ("BIPA"), 740 ILCS 14/1, et seq. Defendants then removed the lawsuit to federal court (Dkt. No. 1), and shortly thereafter filed a motion to dismiss (Dkt. No. 25). In response, Howe moved to remand the action back to state court, claiming that Defendants' motion to dismiss demonstrated that Howe did not have Article III standing to bring this action in federal court. (Dkt. No. 50.) For the reasons that follow, Howe's motion to remand is granted and Defendants' motion to dismiss is denied as moot.

BACKGROUND

Howe is an Illinois resident who worked at a Speedway gas station in Addison, Illinois from September 2015 to May 2017. (Compl. ¶¶ 10, 36, Dkt. No. 1-1.) Speedway required its employees to scan their fingerprints, which were stored in a database operated by its vendor, Kronos. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 6, 38.) It used the employees' fingerprints to authenticate their identities and to track their time. (Id. ¶ 37.) Specifically, at the beginning of each work day, an employee would clock in by scanning his fingerprint and then scan his [*3]  fingerprint again at the end of the day to clock out. (Id. ¶¶ 2-3, 29, 39.) Howe's fingerprint data was used for this purpose during his employment at Speedway. (Id. ¶ 39.)

According to Howe, Speedway collected, stored, and used his fingerprints in violation of BIPA. Illinois passed BIPA in 2008 in order to provide certain protections for the biometric identifiers—such as fingerprints—and biometric information of Illinois citizens. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 21.) The statute includes provisions requiring any private entity to make two disclosures and receive a written release before collecting a person's biometric identifier or information. (Id. ¶ 19; 740 ILCS 14/15(b).) In particular, the entity must disclose in writing to the person whose biometric data is being collected "that a biometric identifier or biometric information is being collected or stored." (Compl. ¶ 19; 740 ILCS 14/15(b)(1).) Then, the person must be informed "in writing of the specific purpose and length of term for which a biometric identifier or biometric information is being collected, stored, and used." (Compl. ¶ 19; 740 ILCS 14/15(b)(2).) Furthermore, a private entity that is in possession of biometric data

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2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 90342 *; 2018 WL 2445541

CHRISTOPHER HOWE, individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiff, v. SPEEDWAY LLC, et al., Defendants.

CORE TERMS

biometric, fingerprint, collected, Defendants', disclosures, injury-in-fact, removal, scan, concrete, alleges, stored, motion to dismiss, cases, federal court, authorization, identifiers, notice, private entity, failure to provide, subject-matter, retention, privacy, faces, disclosure requirements, aggrieved person, attorney's fees, cause of action, state court, destruction, purposes