Cothron v. White Castle System, Inc.Annotate this Case
Cothron. employed by a White Castle restaurant in Illinois since 2004, filed a class action on behalf of all Illinois White Castle employees. White Castle required its employees to scan their fingerprints to access their pay stubs and computers. A third-party vendor verified each scan and authorized the employee’s access. The complaint alleged that White Castle implemented this biometric-collection system in violation of the Biometric Information Privacy Act (740 ILCS 14/15(b), (d), which became effective in 2008 and provides that a private entity may not “collect, capture, purchase, receive through trade, or otherwise obtain” a person’s biometric data without first providing notice to and receiving consent from the person; a private entity may not “disclose, redisclose, or otherwise disseminate” biometric data without consent. White Castle did not seek her consent to acquire her fingerprint biometric data until 2018.
White Castle argued that the action was untimely because her claim accrued in 2008 when White Castle first obtained her biometric data after the Act’s effective date. The district court agreed with Cothron. The Seventh Circuit certified an interlocutory appeal, then certified a question to the Illinois Supreme Court, which held that a separate claim accrues under the Act each time a private entity scans or transmits an individual’s biometric identifier or information in violation of section 15(b) or 15(d).