The United States has a long standing history with class action lawsuits. Since they were first introduced in the 1800s, these lawsuits were used to address issues such as fraud, false advertising, and discrimination.
Today this legal framework allows a large group of people to sue a defendant as a single entity, rather than each person having to file a separate lawsuit. This makes it easier for individuals without specific access or plentiful resources to combat large corporations in a more even fight.
In this article we will examine how a class action investigation can help individuals curb the corporations encroaching on BIPA compliance. So if you have been notified about a potential class action you can join, or if you just wish to learn more, keep reading to get up to speed.
About BIPA and Class Action Lawsuits
When it comes to class action investigations and lawsuits pertaining to the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), people refer to the state law in Illinois which regulates the collection, use, and storage of biometric information (such as fingerprints or facial scans).
BIPA gives individuals the right to know when their biometric information is being collected, how it is being used, and for how long it will be stored. It also requires companies to obtain written consent from individuals before collecting their biometric information and to take reasonable measures to safeguard the information.
Consequences for violating the BIPA
If a company is found to have violated BIPA, individuals who were affected may be able to seek damages through a class action lawsuit. Class action lawsuits allow a group of people with a common complaint (in this case, being the victim of a BIPA violation) to sue the company as a group.
Violations of the BIPA can result in significant financial penalties for the entity found in violation. This can be an effective way to hold the company accountable for its actions and seek damages on behalf of all the members of the class.
If a private entity is found to have violated any provision of BIPA, it can be held liable for either actual damages or statutory damages of $1,000 for each negligent violation or $5,000 for each reckless or intentional violation, whichever is greater. Also, an individual can file a lawsuit for the violation of BIPA, so it can lead to litigation costs and reputational damage for the company.
How the process works
The first step is to file a class action lawsuit. This process is initiated by one or more individuals (called the “named plaintiffs”) who have suffered damages as a result of a BIPA violation. The named plaintiffs then file a complaint in court against the company that allegedly violated BIPA, alleging that the company’s actions affected a larger group of people (the “class”).
Next up the class action has to be defined, and then notifications can be sent out to the affected parties. The court will define the class of people who are eligible to participate in the lawsuit. This may include all individuals who were affected by the BIPA violation, or a subset of individuals who meet certain criteria. Notifications are then sent to potential class members, informing them of their eligibility to participate in the lawsuit.
Once notifications have been sent, class members then have the option to opt out or participate. Those that opt out will not be bound by any decisions made in the lawsuit and will not be eligible to recover damages. Class members who do not opt out will automatically be included as members of the class and will be bound by any decisions made in the lawsuit.
Next up is the actual litigation. The class action lawsuit will proceed through the legal process just like any other lawsuit. This may include discovery, such as the exchange of information and evidence between the parties, motions, and possibly a trial.
Once that process is over, the case is then considered resolved. It can happen through a settlement (an agreement reached between the parties), or a judgment (a decision made by the court).
If the class action is successful, class members may be entitled to recover damages. The damages may be distributed to class members based on the specific circumstances of each individual’s case.
Hopefully the above have provided you with a sense of how a class action lawsuit involving a BIPA violation might work. It is important to note that every case is different and the specific details of a class action lawsuit will depend on the specific facts and circumstances of the case.
Are you concerned about a potential violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act? Our experienced attorneys can help. We have a proven track record of successfully representing clients in BIPA class action lawsuits. Contact us today for a consultation and let us fight for your rights.