Octapharma to Pay $10 Million to Settle a Class Action Lawsuit Regarding Fingerprint Scans of Plasma Donors
A federal judge has been requested to approve a nearly $10 million class action settlement that would end allegations that plasma donation company Octapharma violated Illinois’ biometric privacy law by illegally using donors’ fingerprints.
Mary Crumpton v. Octapharma Plasma, Inc. Settlement
Mary Crumpton’s — the lead plaintiff — attorneys, J. Eli Wade-Scott and Schuyler Ufkes of Edelson, PC in Chicago, and David Fish of Fish Potter Bolaos, PC in Naperville, filed a motion on November 3 requesting approval of a settlement agreement.
Octapharma, based in Germany, would establish a $9.99 million settlement fund to compensate 76,826 plasma donors who utilized the system between December 2, 2014, and February 4, 2020, according to the motion. Class members would need to file valid claim forms, either by mail or online, to earn a prorated share.
Crumpton’s might receive up to 35% of the settlement, or around $3.5 million, in fees. Crumpton would receive a $5,000 incentive as the Octapharma BIPA Settlement representative.
The amount that donors may get from the settlement depends on the number of valid claims submitted.
According to court documents, if every donor made a valid claim, everyone would receive approximately $84. On the other hand, Crumpton’s attorneys expect a claims rate of only 10%-20%, implying that valid claims might be valued at $400-$800 for each plasma donor claimant.
The amount exceeds the recoveries in numerous other statutory privacy class actions, especially because settlements frequently provide no relief to the Class, as per the motion. Other BIPA settlements have also lowered the amount defendants must pay for credit monitoring, class member recovery limits, and reversion of unclaimed funds.
While the Octapharma BIPA Settlement agreement does not state that any funds will be returned to Octapharma, it provides that any unclaimed checks or rejected electronic payments will be sent to the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois for its government accountability and personal privacy efforts.
Class members who do not submit a claim will not receive their share of the settlement agreement.
Members of the Class who will seek future litigations must opt-out of the Class.
Class Members may also object to the terms agreement if they disagree with them.
January 27, 2022, is the date to opt-out/object to the Octapharma settlement.
A final hearing is scheduled for February 16, 2022.
Claimants in this class action settlement have until February 3, 2022, to file a claim.
About the Lawsuit
The Octapharma BIPA Lawsuit started in December 2019 when Crumpton sued Octapharma Plasma in Cook County Circuit Court, alleging the company violated BIPA by collecting fingerprints for its donor management system without providing disclosures or getting consent.
Additionally, Octapharma invested approximately $900,000 in a new business building in Chicago. It employs over 3,500 Americans nationwide and maintains at least 80 plasma donation sites.
Octapharma, according to its website, has five plasma donation sites in Illinois, including locations in Chicago, Riverside, Melrose Park, and Bridgeview.
According to the Octapharma BIPA case, Crumpton and all plasma donors were required to provide a fingerprint scan to register in the donor management system and use their prints prior to each successive donation. In addition, she accused Octapharma of failing to develop a data retention policy and procedures for permanently erasing biometric data, failing to disclose such a policy publicly, and failing to comply with such a policy.
Octapharma removed the case to federal court, arguing that federal law preempts BIPA and that it is exempt under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In January 2021, Judge Kendall rejected the federal preemption argument and dismissed parts of Octapharma’s affirmative defense regarding HIPPA and the use of the prints for scientific testing or screening.
If Kendall approves the Octapharma BIPA Settlement , it will apply just to Octapharma and not to the company’s third-party software provider, Haemonetics Corporation. Crumpton’s lawsuit says that the company stored biometric data on donors without their consent or knowledge, a BIPA violation.
Along with the monetary relief, Octapharma has promised to remove all biometric data from Illinois donors who have not visited an Octapharma facility in at least three years, as well as to adhere to the informed written consent plan and retention and deletion policy it implemented on February 4, 2020.
Octapharma will give a list of all donors who would be eligible for the settlement, along with their last known mailing and email addresses, so that the administrator can contact them directly and guide them to the settlement website.
Editor’s Note on Octapharma BIPA Settlement For $10 Million:
This article is written to inform you of the Octapharma $9.9M class action settlement over allegations that the company violated BIPA by collecting biodata without consent. We also suggest you read the Partners Healthcare System Privacy Settlement.
Case Name & No.: Mary Crumpton v. Octapharma Plasma, Inc., Case No. 19-cv-08402
Jurisdiction: U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
Allegations: Octapharma violated BIPA
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