Illinois Supreme Court Rules for Biometric Privacy: An Interview with James Oh

Employment Law This Week®

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In this extended interview from Employment Law This Week (February 5, 2019), James J. Oh, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, discusses a cause of action under Illinois’s stringent biometric privacy law that does not require a plaintiff to show that he or she suffered actual harm. The Illinois Supreme Court has held that the only requirement is proof of a violation of the individual’s rights. The case in question involved a teenager who was fingerprinted when he bought a season pass to an amusement park. Mr. Oh comments:

“The Illinois Supreme Court’s recent decision in this case against Six Flags is notable because it’s the first decision from a state supreme court that holds that you can sue under a biometric privacy act without proving actual damages. In Illinois, there’s a private right of action, and the plaintiffs’ bar have picked up on that. They have been filing these lawsuits. But they have been somewhat in a holding pattern, waiting to see what would happen in this case, where the supreme court was asked to decide, ‘Can you actually pursue a lawsuit without having proven actual injury?’ And now that the Illinois Supreme Court has said ‘yes,’ that it’s a very notable decision. It’s creating a lot of attention because it is going to continue the onslaught of these types of cases in Illinois.”

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