Amazon Shareholder Files Biometric Privacy and Antitrust Suit

Amazon shareholder Francis Gimbel, Jr. has sued Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s Board of Directors, and other company leaders in federal court in Washington for allegedly storing employee biometric data without consent. This is a breach of the defendants’ fiduciary duties and a violation of state laws and the Illinois Biometric Information Protection Act, the suit says. The complaint further alleges that the Amazon defendants engaged in anticompetitive practices including price inflation and using private third-party seller information to give Amazon products preference. Gimbel, an optometric technician in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, says Bezos and the other defendants misled investors in SEC filings and public statements.  Gimbel v. Amazon, et al., No. 2:22-cv-00811-JCC, W.D. Wash., Seattle Div.

This is not the first BIPA-related suit against Amazon. It faces claims in Illinois state court dealing with biometric information allegedly collected by its Alexa application. The proposed class action brought by plaintiff April Schaeffer was sent back to state court in Madison County where it was originally filed.  Schaeffer claims Amazon failed to establish written policies governing its collection and use of biometric data, and sought remedies only for “statutory aggrievement.” Amazon removed the case to federal court under the Class Action Fairness Act.  U.S. Judge Stephen P. McGlynn ruled that Amazon did not establish Article III standing, however, which requires claims that a defendant caused the plaintiff “actual or imminent, concrete and particularized injury-in-fact.” The judge held: “Bare procedural violations separated from any concrete harm do not satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement.” Schaeffer v. Amazon, et al., No. 21-CV-01080-SPM, S.D. Ill.

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