Before any payments can be made, the court must grant final approval of the settlement, and any appeals must be resolved. A final approval hearing has been scheduled for July 20, 2022.
March 18, 2022 – PersonalizationMall Agrees to Settle BIPA Class Action
The parties in the case detailed on this page have agreed to a $4.5 million settlement that aims to compensate those who allegedly had their biometric information collected through PersonalizationMall’s timekeeping system.
According to a March 15 memo, the settlement looks to cover anyone who registered to use PersonalizationMall’s finger vein-based timekeeping system in Illinois anytime during the system’s deployment (May 2016 through April 2020).
Class members, i.e., those covered by the lawsuit, will be able to file claims for a pro-rated share of the $4.5 million fund after certain costs and fees have been deducted. Plaintiffs’ counsel estimates that if 15 to 25 percent of the 20,393 class members file claims, payments will amount to roughly $569 to $952 per person.
If the settlement is approved, notice of the deal will be sent via mail or email to those for whom a valid mailing or email address can be found. The settlement will also be advertised on social media, and an official website will be set up to provide more information about the deal and allow class members to file claims online. The notice sent to class members will also contain a claim form that can be mailed or emailed to the settlement administrator.
Those who submit valid claims will have 180 days from issuance to cash their settlement checks, but funds from uncashed checks will be distributed to the Unclaimed Property Division of the Illinois Treasurer’s Office, from whom class members can request their settlement payments if they miss the deadline.
The proposed settlement now awaits the judge’s preliminary approval, after which class members should keep an eye out for a settlement notice.
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Two former warehouse workers claim in a proposed class action lawsuit that PersonalizationMall.com, LLC unlawfully collected and stored employees’ fingerprints for timekeeping purposes without obeying Illinois law.
The two plaintiffs, who both worked at the Bed Bath & Beyond subsidiary’s Burr Ridge, Illinois location in 2017 and 2018, claim they were required to scan their fingerprints every time they clocked in and out of work, including before and after meal breaks. While the use of fingerprints for timekeeping purposes is not unlawful, the women argue that the personalized products company never obtained their consent to collect their sensitive biometric information, nor informed them of its policies for storing and destroying the data.
The case explains that under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a company must meet the following requirements before collecting and storing individuals’ biometric information:
Inform the individuals in writing that their biometric information will be collected and stored;
Explain in writing the purpose and length of time for such collection, storage, and use;
Receive a written release from the individuals for the collection of their information; and
Publish a publicly available retention schedule and guidelines for the destruction of the collected biometric data.
The lawsuit alleges that PersonalizationMall.com failed to fulfill each of the BIPA’s stipulations before collecting its warehouse workers’ fingerprints.
Noting that fingerprints are unlike social security numbers or other means of identification in that they’re permanent and unique to each individual, the case stresses that the defendant’s “lax” procedures for the collection of such sensitive data has exposed workers to “serious and irreversible privacy risks.”
“For example,” the complaint reads, “if a fingerprint database is hacked, breached, or otherwise exposed, the workers and individuals have no means by which to prevent identity theft and unauthorized tracking.”
Providing that “no amount of time or money” can compensate the plaintiffs and similarly situated individuals for the defendant’s “invasive program,” the suit seeks to cover anyone whose biometrics were captured, collected, obtained, stored, or used by the defendant in Illinois “within the applicable limitations period.”
Originally filed in Illinois state court, the lawsuit has since been removed to the state’s northern district court.