In a test of the enforceability of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that a 14-year-old boy was entitled to statutory damages – between $1,000 to $5,000 – after a Six Flags amusement park issuing a season pass didn’t get his express permission before fingerprinting him.

"The Illinois law does not specify that the individual has to suffer any cognizable harm in order to collect damages,” which has placed it at odds with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Spokeo ruling, said Dorsey & Whitney Partner Robert Cattanach.

In Spokeo the court said “that absent some cognizable harm, individuals complaining of privacy violations had no standing to bring actions against entities alleged to have violated their privacy,” said Cattanach. If the ruling is “allowed to stand – an appeal to the United States Supreme Court would appear to be likely –  the Illinois Court’s ruling would signal a significant sea change in how courts allow claims without actual damages to proceed, and open the floodgates to class actions claiming privacy violation seven without any showing of actual harm,"  

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