A woman who brought two class action lawsuits against L.A. Tan and some of its local franchisees over how they handle customers’ fingerprint scans has settled one of the lawsuits, as L.A. Tan has agreed to pay $1.5 million - including $600,000 to the attorneys who filed the class action.
On Dec. 1, Cook County Judge Rodolfo Garcia signed off on the settlement agreement between L.A. Tan Enterprises Inc. and a class of plaintiffs, represented by named plaintiff Klaudia Sekura.
The settlement ends the first legal action Sekura and her attorneys with the firm of Edelson P.C., of Chicago, launched against the nationwide franchiser of tanning salons, alleging the company violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act. That lawsuit centered on L.A. Tan’s practice of scanning customer fingerprints and storing them in a national membership database, which L.A. Tan says allows customers to more easily check in and use their memberships at any franchise location.
While the scanning and storage of fingerprint data is permissible, Sekura’s lawsuit argued L.A. Tan broke the Illinois BIPA law by sharing the scans with an out-of-state, third-party software vendor, identified as SunLync.
The lawsuit had been filed in November 2015.
Sekura, a L.A. Tan member since 2005, and Edelson followed that lawsuit with another complaint in April against L.A. Tan’s Schaumburg franchisee, Krishna Schaumburg Tan. That class action leveled similar allegations as the initial class action vs L.A. Tan. It also accused Krishna Tan of failing to provide BIPA-compliant written notification to customers about the data collection, as well as a retention schedule and guidelines for permanent destruction of fingerprint data should the business fail.
With more than 65 percent of L.A. Tan salons in foreclosure – a figure the lawsuit attributed to a 2013 WilliamBruce.org report – Sekura and Edelson argued the future of the biometric information collected by L.A. Tan and its franchisees is also in peril, a concern which they said also prompted the lawsuit.
The case against Krishna Schaumburg Tan remains pending.
Judge Garcia preliminarily approved the settlement agreement in August, and granted final approval on Dec. 1.
According to the settlement agreement, L.A. Tan has agreed to pay $1.5 million into the settlement fund, from which it will pay eligible claims from members of the class, which could include anyone who scanned their fingerprint at an Illinois L.A. Tan location since November 13, 2013.
Payments per claim were expected to be greater than $100, the settlement agreement said.
Claimants have until Dec. 29 to submit claims, the agreement said.
Garcia also granted Edelson’s request for attorney fees of $600,000.
Sekura will receive $5,000.
L.A. Tan was represented in the action by the firm of Baker Hostetler, of Chicago.