“An injury in law is not automatically an injury in fact.”
—Cory Andrews, Vice President of Litigation
Click here for WLFs brief.
(Washington, D.C.)—Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) today filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court, urging it to grant Facebook, Inc’s petition for certiorari. WLF’s brief is highly critical of a Ninth Circuit decision that threatens to permit large, no-harm class actions whenever plaintiffs can label the alleged statutory violation an “invasion of privacy.”
The case arises under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), a 2008 law that requires companies to obtain written consent before collecting a person’s biometric information. It provides a private right of action allowing a plaintiff to recover up to $5,000 for a single violation. Seeking to represent a class of six million Illinois Facebook users, the plaintiffs sued Facebook claiming that its Tag Suggestions feature—which uses facial-recognition software to suggest that Facebook users tag their friends in photos they upload to Facebook—violates BIPA.
As WLF’s brief explains, the panel’s certification ruling all but eliminates Article III’s standing requirement in “privacy” cases and throws open the door to class claims threatening draconian liability, creating irresistible pressure to settle even dubious claims. Such hydraulic settlement pressure—leveraging many billions of dollars in potential recovery—is corrosive to our civil justice system.
Celebrating its 42nd year, WLF is America’s premier public-interest law firm and policy center advocating for free-market principles, limited government, individual liberty, and the rule of law.