Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Cedarhurst Operator, LLC accused of storing biological information without consent


By John Breslin | Jan 20, 2020

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BELLEVILLE – The owner of a number of nursing homes in Southern Illinois is facing a potential class action lawsuit over claims it violated provisions of the state’s data privacy act.

Rachel Brammer, who worked at Cedarhurst of Shiloh Operator, LLC, is suing on behalf of herself and all other former and current employees of facilities in Edwardsville, Collinsville, Greenville, Jacksonville, and Sparta due to an alleged violation of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

According to the class action complaint filed by Brammer in St. Clair County Circuit Court on Dec. 23, thousands of people could be included in the lawsuit. 

The plaintiff alleges unnamed doe defendants 1 to 100 are in some manner responsible for the conduct. She alleges the company violated the BIPA by "illegally” collecting, storing and using biometric information without written consent. Brammer seeks $5,000 for each defendant for intentional or reckless violation, or $1,000 for negligent violation.

The lawsuit also states that the legislature passed the statute because lawmakers recognized the uniqueness of biometric identifiers and the security concerns surrounding their collection. 

The plaintiff claims the defendants are “actively collecting, storing, and using – without providing notice, obtaining informed written consent or publishing data retention policies – the biometrics of hundreds or more unwitting Illinois resident citizens.”

Brammer, a resident of St. Clair County, states that while working at the Shiloh facility, she was told to deliver her biometric information by order of Cedarhurst.

She alleges she was never told in writing that the information was being collected and stored, and there was no information given over the length of time it would be retained. There was no written release to allow the company to use the information, and the company is accused of failing to provide a public written policy.

The St. Louis-based defendant did not immediately return a call for comment from the Record.

Brammer is represented by John J. Driscoll and Christopher J. Quinn of the Driscoll Law Firm of St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 2019-L-932

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