Companies ink $6.8 mln deal over vending machine biometric data suit

  • Compass Group, 365 Retail reach settlement with Illinois vending machine users
  • Lawsuit brought under state biometric privacy law

(Reuters) – Compass Group USA Inc and a retail technology company have agreed to pay $6.8 million to resolve a proposed class action alleging they collected fingerprint data from vending machine users without proper notice and consent, according to Thursday filings in Illinois federal court.

Compass, a food and support services company, and 365 Retail Markets LLC reached the proposed deal with plaintiffs in a lawsuit brought under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA).

The law has spurred litigation in a number of industries, including against Facebook Inc, which settled a BIPA lawsuit for $650 million last year.

In the Compass case, lawyers for the proposed class from law firm Werman Salas filed an unopposed motion for preliminary approval of the settlement on Thursday.

The deal would resolve claims that the companies unlawfully captured biometric data from users who scanned their fingers to operate vending machine systems.

Lawyers for Compass and 365 Retail from the law firms K&L Gates and Honigman, respectively, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the deal, including whether and how the companies would split payment of the $6.8 million fund.

The companies deny liability and wrongdoing, according to the settlement documents.

In mid-2019, named plaintiff Christine Bryant, a former employee of a call center where she scanned her fingerprint on Compass vending systems, sued the company in state court.

After removal to federal court, the case made its way up to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year, which in part found the unlawful data collection claims are enough to establish federal court standing. 365 Retail was added to the lawsuit in June.

The case is Bryant v. Compass Group USA, Inc., U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, No. 1:19-cv-06622.

For the plaintiffs: Zachary Flowerree and Douglas Werman of Werman Salas

For Compass: Joseph Wylie of K&L Gates

For 365 Retail: Jad Sheikali of Honigman

Read More:

Federal courts can hear cases brought under Illinois biometric law – 7th Circuit

Judge trims Illinois biometric privacy lawsuit against food service giant Compass

Sara Merken

Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at sara.merken@thomsonreuters.com

Read More

Rubi Howe