The U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois vacated a $228 million damages award in Rogers v. BNSF Railway Co., the first case tried to a verdict under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). In Rogers v. BNSF Railway Co., rail workers alleged that BNSF Railway Co. (“BNSF”) collected their biometric information without informed consent. The jury found that BNSF had recklessly or intentionally violated BIPA 45,600 times (one violation per class member). BIPA provides that intentional or reckless violations of BIPA may result in liquidated damages of $5,000 or actual damages, whichever is greater.
The prior award resulted from multiplying the number of BIPA violations by $5,000 to arrive at $228 million. While the court upheld the verdict that the company violated the BIPA, it held that damages were discretionary under BIPA (due to the term “may”) and ordered a new trial limited to the question of damages.
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