Hahn Loeser & Parks Announces Launch of Biometric Privacy Practice Group in Chicago

Hahn Loeser & Parks LLP announced today it has established a new practice group—the Biometric Privacy Practice Group—to better support clients’ needs in the areas of privacy and data protection. The new group will be chaired by partner Ian H. Fisher and will focus on claims relating to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA) and the emergence of biometric privacy issues across the country. Fisher and Gillian G. Lindsay will represent employers, timekeeping technology companies, and other clients using and implementing biometric data with BIPA and privacy compliance and class-action defense.

“The creation of this new practice group is a response to our growing experience in this emerging area of law,” said Hahn Loeser’s CEO & Managing Partner Marc J. Kessler. “Ian and his team are assisting clients in navigating cutting-edge issues in biometric privacy law and are well positioned to respond to the expanding legal needs in this area.”

The launch of the Firm’s Biometric Privacy Practice Group follows the January Illinois Supreme Court decision in  Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp., et. al,  which drastically reduced the threshold harm required for an individual to bring suit under BIPA.  Illinois has passed the strongest biometric privacy statute in the United States. BIPA provides aggrieved persons with a private right of action and significant statutory damages. Claims can be readily combined into class actions, exponentially increasing financial risk for businesses. Many companies, including Facebook and Google, have found themselves facing hundreds of millions of dollars in legal exposure under BIPA for seemingly benign uses of biometric data--e.g., using face geometry to “tag” friends in photos.

“The use of biometric data will expand and grow in ways we cannot predict,” said Fisher. “We assist clients with implementing best practices for using biometric technology in their businesses; we reduce their potential risk.” Fisher noted that with the ruling in, Rosenbach in January, the Supreme Court made it much easier for workers to bring suit against their employers for technical violations of the state’s biometric information privacy statute. Lindsay commented, “In the past two years, more than 200 class action complaints have been filed in Illinois, and that number will grow in response to this ruling. As companies integrate this type of emerging technology into their businesses, they need counsel who can help them navigate this new landscape.”

Fisher and Lindsay just published a Special Feature titled “Biometric Technologies Create Big Liabilities” in the March 15, 2019 issue of FLASHPOINTS published by the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education (IICLE). This article provides additional detail on the implications of BIPA and recommendations for companies to help mitigate their risk.

Hahn Loeser’s Biometric Privacy Practice Group will provide three primary areas of service to its clients: BIPA Client Counseling & Compliance, BIPA Class Action Defense, and BIPA Insurance.

Hahn Loeser is one of just a few firms that have a practice group focused on this emerging area. Organizations that collect or maintain biometric information, such as fingerprints, iris scans, and face scans, in Illinois should ensure they are familiar with and follow BIPA’s notice and consent requirements to limit their legal exposure. Learn more about Hahn Loeser’s Biometric Privacy Practice Group here.