Madison - St. Clair Record

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Another company faces biometric privacy class action lawsuit

State Court

By John Breslin | Feb 3, 2020

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EDWARDSVILLE - A logistics company is facing the potential of a class action lawsuit over claims of violations of Illinois' biometric privacy act.

The company, Customized Distribution Services (CDS), is the latest company to be served with a lawsuit over claims that its collection of biometric data for time keeping purposes violates the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

One St. Louis law firm has filed many of the suits over the last year since the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a plaintiff does not have to prove actual damage to pursue such an action. CDS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The suit, filed Jan. 13, states the company is based in Pennsylvania, though records show its corporate headquarters are in New Jersey.

Mario Burkes, a former employee of the company, which has a facility in Edwardsville, states that his fingerprint was scanned by the biometric time keeping device, which was required for clocking in and out of the premises. It is alleged that the defendant unlawfully collected and stored the information.

Specifically, it is claimed that the company did not inform Burkes and others in writing of the purpose of the data gathering and the length of time it would be retained. Further, the defendant did not receive a written release or any consent to disclose the information to a third party, according to the complaint.

The company used the biometric data for identification and authorization purposes, potentially with the help of a third party, it is stated.

"No amount of time or money can compensate plaintiff if his biometric data was compromised," according to the complaint. The suit notes that the plaintiff does not have to show any actual damage caused following the Supreme Court decision.

The suit asks for $5,000 for each intentional violation of BIPA, and $1,000 for each negligent one.

Burkes is represented by Brandon M. Wise of Peiffer Wolf Carr & Kane of St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 2020-L-26.

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