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January 31, 2020

BIPA “Bares Its Teeth” Through Massive Settlement

Illinois’ unique Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), through which private lawyers can sue companies without having to prove actual harm, “bare[d] its teeth” through the massive $550 million Facebook settlement, Law360 said.

Calling the law “uniquely powerful,” Law360 said the massive settlement “may inspire plaintiffs to bring even more cases, potentially putting companies that do business in the state on edge.” The law separates itself from similar state laws in that it includes a private right of action. An Illinois Supreme Court decision from last January made litigation under the law even more prolific by allowing lawsuits even in cases in which the plaintiffs could not show they were actually harmed.

The Facebook case “really highlights” how that 2019 decision “is going to cause a lot of problems in cases where no one was injured,” one defense attorney said.

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