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White Castle Must Face Worker Claims on Collecting, Sharing Data

June 17, 2020, 5:13 PM

White Castle System Inc. must face claims that it violated an Illinois biometric privacy law with its collection and sharing of an employee’s fingerprint information.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Tuesday rejected the company’s bid to dismiss the suit brought last year by Latrina Cothron. Her allegations were “concrete and particularized” to create Article III standing, Judge John Tharp wrote.

Companies are failing to toss Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act claims at early stages of litigation following federal and state court opinions that confer standing. Courts generally allow suits to proceed if they are filed under a law, like the one in Illinois, that creates a protected interest.

A White Castle spokesperson and Cothron’s counsel didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

White Castle made employees enroll their biometric data for payroll purposes and then shared it with two third-party vendors in violation of the state law, Cothron alleged.

Tharp tossed claims alleging White Castle didn’t have a biometric retention schedule and failed to properly delete such data. Cothron pleaded facts showing no such violations, he wrote.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP represents White Castle. Stephan Zouras LLP represents Cothron.

The case is Cothron v. White Castle Sys., 2020 BL 222750, N.D. Ill., No. 19-cv-00382, 6/16/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel R. Stoller in Washington at dstoller@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com; Keith Perine at kperine@bloomberglaw.com

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