In what is believed to be the first jury verdict in the matter, a federal jury last week awarded a $228 million verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against BNSF Railway Co. under the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act.
In last Wednesday’s judgment in Richard Rogers v. BNSF Railway Co ., a jury in US District Court in Chicago found that the railroad had committed 45,600 “reckless or willful” violations of the BIPA Act. The complaint in the case was filed in April 2019 and the class was certified in March 2022.
BIPA provides penalties of up to $5,000 for each reckless or willful violation and $1,000 for each negligent violation.
Plaintiff̵7;s counsel was directed by the court to file a written motion for distribution by Friday, and a telephone hearing is set for Oct. 26. The court said in a ruling that it “remains willing to resume settlement discussions.”
Mr. Rogers was among truck drivers who visited BNSF facilities and were required by the railroad to provide their biometric identifiers in the form of fingerprints and related biometric information, according to court papers in the case.
His lawsuit alleges that BNSF violated BIPA by failing to receive written notice from him before the biometric information was collected; provide a written disclosure about its use of biometric information and the purpose or duration of its use; obtain his consent before disseminating his biometric information to “technology providers”; and make a retention and destruction schedule available to the public.
In his ruling approving the certification of the class, which is estimated to total 44,149 members, Judge Mathew F. Kennelly said the lawsuit meets the necessary requirements, including “numerous, common, typical and adequate representation.”
The jury took just an hour to deliberate before issuing its verdict, according to a report.
Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.