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Megan McKisson

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UNITED STATES – In a groundbreaking decision handed down on January 25, 2019, the Illinois Supreme Court unanimously held that private entities cannot collect biometric data from consumers without their consent, pursuant to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (740 ILCS 14/1 et seq.) (“BIPA”). Crucially, the Court held that individuals have standing to bring a claim under BIPA even without a showing of actual harm. Plaintiff Stacy Rosenbach filed suit against Six Flags amusement…

Background Data privacy law is rapidly developing; significant updates to data privacy and protection laws (now enacted in over 100 jurisdictions worldwide) are of increasing importance to class action litigation. Especially after the enactment of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Chinese Cybersecurity Law (and its supporting guidelines and regulations), there is a strong push for the enactment of stricter data protection laws in the United States. Practitioners must consider the implications of…

Procedural history

In August 2016, the US Judicial Conference’s Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure (“Committee”) published proposed amendments to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 governing class actions. The proposed amendments were available for public comment from August 12, 2016 through February 15, 2017. The Committee held several public hearings to discuss the proposed amendment in late 2016 and early 2017. The proposed changes were submitted to the Supreme Court on October 4, 2017. If the Supreme Court accepts the Committee’s proposal, the changes will become effective on December 1, 2018.

Proposed changes and practical implications

The proposed amendments are intended to modernize the notice process, to allow for notice to class members via electronic communications; impose affirmative obligations on a court to consider specific factors relevant to the fairness, reasonableness, and adequacy of a proposed settlement; to curb abuses from “bad faith” objectors; and clarify that certain orders granting “preliminary approval” of class certification may not be appealed.. Each is summarized briefly below.

UNITED STATES – On October 24, 2017, the Senate voted 51-50 to nullify a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulation that restricted banks and credit card companies from requiring customers to submit to mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute. Vice President Mike Pence provided the tiebreaking vote. The Senate’s resolution now goes to President Trump, who is expected to sign the resolution into law.

The rule, which was introduced by the CFPB in July but had not yet taken effect, would have restricted financial institutions from including mandatory arbitration clauses in the fine print of its consumer contracts. This restriction on arbitration agreements would have enabled aggrieved consumers to bring class-action lawsuits against financial institutions with increased ease. Mandatory arbitration clauses are commonly utilized in many types of consumer contracts across the financial industry, including credit card agreements and private student loans. As a result of the Senate’s vote, financial institutions will face fewer class-action suits from its consumers.