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  • District Court grants final approval of $92 million class action settlement over privacy violations

    Courts

    On August 22, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois granted final approval of a class action settlement, resolving claims that a China-based technology company and its subsidiaries (collectively, “defendants”) violated Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), among other things, by defying state and federal privacy laws through a social media platform and entertainment application (app). The first of the 21 putative class actions comprising this multidistrict litigation were filed in 2019, and the other 20 putative class actions were filed in 2020 in separate federal districts. Class members, comprised of U.S. residents who used the app prior to preliminary approval, and an Illinois subclass of all Illinois residents who used the app to create videos before preliminary approval, filed a consolidated amended class action complaint in 2020, claiming that the defendants harvested and profited from users’ private information, including their biometric data, geolocation information, personally identifiable information, and unpublished digital recordings. The defendants argued, among other things, that the class members consented to the alleged misconduct by accepting the app’s terms of service.

    Under the terms of the settlement, the defendants must pay “$92 million in monetary relief and an array of injunctive relief for the putative settlement class.” The settlement also requires the defendants to, among other things: (i) refrain from using the app to collect or store certain U.S. user data, including biometric data and geolocation information, without making the necessary disclosures; (ii) delete all pre-uploaded user-generated content collected from U.S. users who did not “save” or “post” the content; and (iii) require a new, yearly training program for the defendants’ employees and contractors regarding compliance with data privacy laws.

    Courts Illinois State Issues Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security Class Action BIPA MDL Settlement China

  • Illinois state appellate court applies different limitation periods under BIPA

    Privacy, Cyber Risk & Data Security

    On September 17, the First District Appellate Court of Illinois held that different limitation periods should be applied to the Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), concluding that while Section 15 imposes various duties that all concern privacy, “each duty is separate and distinct.” Specifically, the panel stated that claims related to “[a]ctions for slander, libel or for publication of matter violating the right of privacy” have a one-year limitation period, while “all civil actions not otherwise provided for” carry a five-year limit. Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint alleging violations of BIPA Sections 15(a), 15(b), and 15(d), claiming the defendant collected, stored, used, and disseminated individuals’ biometric data obtained through fingerprint scans without, among other things, (i) informing plaintiffs of the purpose and length of the storage and use of their data; (ii) receiving written release from plaintiffs; (iii) providing a retention schedule and guidelines for destroying the data; or (iv) obtaining consent from plaintiffs and other employees to disseminate their data to third parties. The defendant moved to dismiss, arguing that the claims were filed outside the limitation period, noting that while BIPA itself has no limitation provision, “the one-year limitation period for privacy actions under Code section 13-201 applies to causes of action under [BIPA] because [BIPA’s] purpose is privacy protection.” A state trial court denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss, ruling that the plaintiffs’ claims  were subject to Illinois’ “catchall” five-year limitation provision rather than the state’s one-year privacy claim limitation period, since the plaintiffs were alleging specific BIPA violations rather than a general privacy invasion.

    On appeal, the appellate court considered the limitations question and determined, among other things, that since Illinois’ one-year statute of limitations applies only to published privacy violations, it can only govern BIPA claims filed under section 15(c)’s profit restrictions and section 15(d)’s disclosure/dissemination prohibitions. As such, plaintiffs suing under BIPA’s section 15(a)’s retention requirements, section 15(b) informed consent, and section 15(e) data safeguarding requirements have five years to bring such claims since these duties “have absolutely no element of publication or dissemination.”

    Privacy/Cyber Risk & Data Security State Issues Courts Illinois Statute of Limitations BIPA Class Action Appellate

  • Illinois amends Real Estate Appraisal Licensing Act

    On August 25, the Illinois governor signed into law HB 0806, which amends the Illinois Real Estate Appraiser Licensing Act (the Act), among other things, to include provisions regarding that all applicants and licensees under the Act shall provide a valid address and email address to the Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and creates provisions regarding: (i) inactive licenses; (ii) citations; and (iii) illegal discrimination. Specifically, the bill changes provisions concerning license necessity, use of title, and exemptions stating that, “[i]t is unlawful for any person, including any entity, to act or assume to act as a home inspector, to engage in the business of home inspection, to develop a home inspection report, to practice as a home inspector, or to advertise or hold oneself out to be a home inspector without a home inspector license issued under this Act.” The bill also changes provisions regarding applications for a(n) (i) state certified general real estate appraiser, (ii) state certified residential real estate appraiser, and (iii) associate real estate trainee appraiser, in addition to the duration of application and renewal of license, among other things. This bill is effective January 1, 2022, except for the provisions amending the Regulatory Sunset Act.

    Licensing State Issues State Legislation Illinois Real Estate Appraisal

  • Illinois amends state Human Rights Act

    State Issues

    On August 13, the Illinois governor signed SB 1561, which amends the Illinois Human Rights Act to include provisions regarding third-party loan modification service providers. According to the bill, it is a civil rights violation for a third-party loan modification service provider because of unlawful discrimination, familial status, or an arrest record, to (i) refuse to engage in loan modification services or to discriminate in making such services available; or (ii) alter the terms, conditions, or privileges of such services. The bill also clarifies that a third-party loan modification service provider is a person or entity, licensed or unlicensed, that “provides assistance or services to a loan borrower to obtain a modification to a term of an existing real estate loan or to obtain foreclosure relief,” but does not include lenders, brokers or appraisers of mortgage loans, or the servicers, subsidiaries, affiliates, or agents of the lender. Among other things, the bill provides that, in relation to real estate transactions, the failure of the Department to notify a complainant or respondent in writing for not completing an investigation on the allegations set forth in a charge within 100 days shall not deprive the Department of jurisdiction over the charge. This bill is effective January 1, 2022.

    State Issues State Legislation Illinois Consumer Lending Third-Party

  • Illinois passes emergency rental assistance legislation

    State Issues

    On May 17, Illinois enacted the Emergency Housing Rental Assistance Program Act. Among other things, the law details how the state will distribute funds received through the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance program. The law also provides for the sealing of residential eviction records through August 2022 and places judicial sales of property on hold until July 31, 2021.

    State Issues Covid-19 Illinois Mortgages Evictions

  • Illinois reissues and extends several Covid-19 executive orders

    State Issues

    On April 2, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued Executive Order 2021-06, which extends several executive orders through May 1, 2021 (previously covered here, hereherehereherehere, and here). Among other things, the order extends: (i) Executive Order 2020-07 regarding in-person meeting requirements, (ii) Executive Order 2020-23 regarding actions by individuals licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation engaged in disaster response, (iii) Executive Order 2020-25 regarding garnishment and wage deductions (previously covered here), (iv) Executive Order 2020-30 regarding residential evictions (previously covered here), and (v) Executive Order 2020-72 regarding the residential eviction moratorium (previously covered here and here).

    State Issues Covid-19 Illinois Mortgages Evictions Debt Collection

  • Illinois reissues and extends several Covid-19 executive orders

    State Issues

    On April 2, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued Executive Order 2021-06, which extends several previous executive orders through May 1, 2021 (previously covered here, hereherehereherehere, and here). Among other things, the order extends: (i) Executive Order 2020-07 regarding in-person meeting requirements, (ii) Executive Order 2020-23 regarding actions by individuals licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation engaged in disaster response, (iii) Executive Order 2020-25 regarding garnishment and wage deductions (previously covered here), (iv) Executive Order 2020-30 regarding residential evictions (previously covered here), and (v) Executive Order 2020-72 regarding the residential eviction moratorium (previously covered here and here).

    State Issues Covid-19 Illinois Licensing Debt Collection Evictions Mortgages

  • Illinois reissues and extends several Covid-19 executive orders

    State Issues

    On March 5, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker issued Executive Order 2021-05, which extends several executive orders through April 3, 2021 (previously covered hereherehereherehere, and here). Among other things, the order extends: (i) Executive Order 2020-07 regarding in-person meeting requirements, (ii) Executive Order 2020-23 regarding actions by individuals licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation engaged in disaster response, (iii) Executive Order 2020-25 regarding garnishment and wage deductions (previously covered here), (iv) Executive Order 2020-30 regarding residential evictions (previously covered here), and (v) Executive Order 2020-72 regarding the residential eviction moratorium (previously covered here and here).

    State Issues Covid-19 Illinois Mortgages Evictions Debt Collection

  • Illinois reissues and extends several Covid-19 executive orders

    State Issues

    On February 5, the governor of Illinois issued Executive Order 2021-04, which extends several executive orders through March 6, 2021 (previously covered hereherehere, here, and here). Among other things, the order extends: (i) Executive Order 2020-07 regarding in-person meeting requirements, (ii) Executive Order 2020-23 regarding actions by individuals licensed by the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation engaged in disaster response, (iii) Executive Order 2020-25 regarding garnishment and wage deductions (previously covered here), (iv) Executive Order 2020-30 regarding residential evictions (previously covered here), and (v) Executive Order 2020-72 regarding the residential eviction moratorium (previously covered here and here).

    State Issues Covid-19 Illinois Debt Collection Evictions Mortgages

  • Illinois regulator releases educational one pager on Covid-19 relief

    State Issues

    In January, the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation issued a one-pager setting forth eviction, mortgage, and student loan information for consumers. The flyer addresses the eviction moratorium, forbearance of mortgage payments, and student loan borrower relief.

    State Issues Covid-19 Illinois Mortgages Evictions Student Lending Forbearance

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