Updated: October 28, 2020
Status: Pending Court Approval
On April 21, 2015, Labaton Sucharow filed a class action complaint on behalf of certain Illinois Facebook users and non-users alleging violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act by Facebook. Specifically, the complaint alleges that Facebook violates the statute by virtue of its facial recognition software that collects and stores biometric information, in the form of face templates extracted from photographs uploaded to the website, in connection with its “Tag Suggestions” feature without first obtaining informed written consent.
The defendants argued that the plaintiffs failed to state a claim under BIPA and that a California choice-of-law provision in the Facebook user agreement precluded suing on an Illinois statute. On May 5, 2016, the court ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, finding that Illinois law applies and that the plaintiffs stated a claim under BIPA.
On February 7, 2017, the court denied the defendants’ second motion to dismiss. Class certification was granted on April 16, 2018 and motions for summary judgment were denied on May 14, 2018. On August 8, 2019, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals published a precedential opinion affirming the district court's class certification decision, and on October 18, 2019, the Ninth Circuit denied Facebook's petition for a rehearing en banc.
In what is the largest cash settlement ever resolving a privacy related lawsuit, a fund of $650 million will be established for a class of Illinois Facebook users who challenged Facebook’s alleged violations of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. Given that the settlement is on behalf of a class of consumers, it will be subject to and not effective until it is approved by the District Court presiding over the case.
The settlement was reached by a trio of law firms that represent the plaintiff class. Chicago-based Edelson PC, originally filed the first suit against Facebook for violations of the Illinois Biometrics law. Thereafter, cases were filed by Labaton Sucharow LLP and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP. The cases were consolidated and transferred to the United States District Court in San Francisco. The three firms jointly litigated the case for nearly five years, before Judge James Donato, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court.
The case is In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litig., No. 15-cv-03747 (N.D. Cal.).
Submit Claim Form
If you fit the following description you are automatically a Class Member: “Facebook users located in Illinois for whom Facebook created and stored a face template after June 7, 2011.” To recover from the Settlement, you must have lived in the State of Illinois for a period of at least 183 days (6 months) and file a claim form. The deadline for filing claim forms is November 23, 2020 and they can be submitted on-line by visiting the official settlement website www.facebookbipaclassaction.com.
Opting Out or Objecting
If you are a Class Member, you will remain in the Class unless you affirmatively take steps to “opt-out” of the Class. The deadline to opt-out is November 23, 2020. If you want to object to the settlement or the attorneys’ request for fees and expenses, the deadline is November 23, 2020. Please review the settlement notice (see link to the right) for the procedures for opting-out or objecting, or visit the settlement website www.facebookbipaclassaction.com.
The District Court held a final settlement approval hearing on January 14, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. (PST) by Zoom webinar. Please review the settlement website periodically for any updated information regarding the final approval hearing.
If you have questions about the Settlement, please contact Labaton Sucharow at email@example.com or 1-888-219-6877, or contact the Claims Administrator, at 1-844-799-2417.
Additional information about the settlement can also be found at: www.facebookbipaclassaction.com.