JOSEPH SHERMAN v BRANDT INDUSTRIES USA LTD.

Case No. 20-CV-1185 in the United States District Court for the Central District of Illinois

  1. What is the purpose of this Notice?

    1. The purpose of this Notice is to inform you that a proposed Settlement has been reached in the putative class action lawsuit entitled Sherman v. Brandt Industries USA Ltd. filed in the USDC, Central District of Illinois, Peoria Division, Case No. 2020-cv-1185. Because your rights will be affected by this Settlement, it is extremely important that you read this Notice carefully. This Notice summarizes the settlement and your rights under it.

  2. What does it mean if I received a postcard about this settlement?

    1. If you received a postcard describing this settlement, it is because Brandt’s records indicate that you may be a member of the Settlement Class. The members of the Settlement Class include:

      All individuals employed by Defendant Brandt Industries USA LTD and any other related entities in the State of Illinois and/or assigned to work at the Illinois facility of Brandt Industries USA Ltd. by temporary staffing agencies, who logged onto, interfaced with, or used any software, systems, or devices that used the individual’s finger, hand, or any biometric identifier of any type (“Biometric Systems”) in Illinois, including any employee of the above entities who has a claim under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/1, et seq., from May 11, 2015 through the date of preliminary approval.

      Excluded from the Settlement Class are: (1) the district and magistrate judges presiding over this case; (2) the judges of the Seventh Circuit; (3) the immediate families of the preceding person(s); (4) any Released Party; and (5) any Settlement Class Member who timely opts out of this Action.

  3. What is this class action lawsuit about?

    1. In a class action, one or more people called Class Representatives (here, Plaintiff Joseph Sherman) sue on behalf of people who allegedly have similar claims. This group is called a class and the persons included are called class members. One court resolves the issues for all of the class members, except for those who exclude themselves from the class.

      Here, Plaintiff claims Brandt violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), 740 ILCS 14/1, et seq., by failing to: (1) obtain its employees’ informed written consent before collecting, capturing, or otherwise obtaining their biometric data in connection with Brandt’s timekeeping system; and (2) implement and adhere to a written policy for permanently destroying Brandt’s employees’ biometric data. Brandt denies these allegations and any wrongdoing. The Court has conditionally certified a class action for settlement purposes only. The Honorable Michael M. Mihm is presiding over this action.

  4. Why is there a Settlement?

    1. The Court did not decide in favor of Plaintiff or Brandt. Instead, the parties agreed to this settlement. This way, the parties avoid the risk and cost of a trial, and the Settlement Class members will receive compensation. Plaintiff and Class Counsel think the settlement is best for all persons in the Settlement Class.

  5. How do I know if I am part of the Settlement class?

    1. The Court has certified a class action for settlement purposes only. The Settlement Class is defined as:

      All individuals employed by Defendant Brandt Industries USA LTD and any other related entities in the State of Illinois and/or assigned to work at the Illinois facility of Brandt Industries USA Ltd. by temporary staffing agencies, who logged onto, interfaced with, or used any software, systems, or devices that used the individual’s finger, hand, or any biometric identifier of any type (“Biometric Systems”) in Illinois, including any employee of the above entities who has a claim under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, 740 ILCS 14/1, et seq., from May 11, 2015 through the date of preliminary approval.

      A “Settlement Class Member” is any person in the Settlement Class who is not validly excluded from the Settlement Class. If you are still not sure whether you are included, you can visit other sections of this website or you may write to the claims administrator at Brandt Industries USA LTD BIPA Settlement, c/o Settlement Administrator, PO Box 23369, Jacksonville, FL 32241.

  6. Do I have lawyers in this case?

    1. The Court has appointed the law firms of Keogh Law, Ltd., as Class Counsel to represent you and the other persons in the Settlement Class. You will not be personally charged by these lawyers.

  7. How will Class Counsel be paid?

    1. Class Counsel will ask the Court to approve payment of up to thirty-six percent of the Settlement Fund, or $86,400 for attorneys’ fees, plus reasonable expenses. Class Counsel also will ask the Court to approve payment of $5,000 to Plaintiff for his services as Class Representative if permitted by law. The Court may award less than these amounts.

  8. What does the Settlement provide?

    1. Settlement Fund. Brandt will pay $250,000.00 into a fund (the “Settlement Funds”), which will cover:  (1) cash payments to Settlement Class Members; (2) an award of attorneys’ fees and expenses to Class Counsel in an amount up to thirty-six percent (36%) of the settlement fund, plus expenses, as approved by the Court; (3) service award to the Plaintiff, Joseph Sherman, in an amount not to exceed $5,000 if permitted by law and approved by the Court; and (4) the costs of notice and administration of the Settlement.

      Cash Payments.  All Settlement Class Members will receive a cash payment, so long as their last known address can be determined. Any money remaining in the Settlement Fund after paying all valid and timely claims to Settlement Class Members (“Claimants”), attorneys’ fees and costs to Class Counsel, any service award to Plaintiff, and the costs of notice and administration of the settlement will be distributed to the following cy pres: the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

  9. How much will my payment be?

    1. Class Counsel estimates your share of the Settlement Fund will be within the range of $600 to $700.  This is an estimate only. The final cash payment amount will depend on the costs of notice and administration, as well as the reasonable costs, attorney’s fees, and incentive award approved by the Court.

  10. What am I giving up to stay in the Settlement Class?

    1. Unless you exclude yourself from the settlement, you will be part of the Settlement Class and will be bound by the release of claims in the settlement. This means that if the settlement is approved, you cannot rely on any Released Claim to sue, or continue to sue, Brandt or other Released Parties, on your own or as part of any other lawsuit, as explained in the Settlement Agreement. It also means that all of the Court’s orders will apply to you and legally bind you. Unless you exclude yourself from the Settlement, you will agree to release Brandt and all other Released Parties, as defined in the Settlement Agreement, from any and all claims that arise from your use of any software, systems, or devices that scan your finger, hand, or any biometric identifier of any type.

      In summary, the Release includes all claims of any kind, whether known or unknown, that were asserted in the Action, or that could have been asserted in the Action based on the facts alleged in Plaintiff’s Amended Class Action Complaint, including, but not limited to, claims arising under BIPA or any other similar state, local, or federal law, regulation, or ordinance, or common law, regarding the use, collection, capture, receipt, maintenance, storage, transmission, or disclosure of biometric identifiers and/or biometric information.

      If you have any questions about the Release or what it means, you can speak to Class Counsel, listed under Question 6, for free; or, at your own expense, you may talk to your own lawyer. The Release does not apply to persons in the Settlement Class who timely exclude themselves.

  11. How can I get a payment?

    1. There is nothing you need to do to obtain a payment from the Settlement. Your portion of the settlement funds will be sent to your last known address, along with a 1099 form.

  12. When would I receive a settlement payment?

    1. The Court will hold a hearing on July 26, 2022 to decide whether to approve the Settlement.  If the Court approves the Settlement, after that, there may be appeals. It is always uncertain whether these appeals can be resolved, and resolving them can take time, perhaps more than a year. Everyone who declines to exclude themselves will be informed of the progress of the settlement through information posted on this website. Please be patient.

  13. How do I get out of the Settlement?

    1. If you want to keep the right to sue, or continue to sue Brandt or a Released Party, as defined in the Settlement Agreement, then you must take steps to get out of the Settlement Class. This is called excluding yourself from, or opting-out of, the Settlement Class.

      A Settlement Class Member who wishes to exclude himself or herself from this Settlement, and from the Release pursuant to this Settlement, shall submit a written Opt-Out Request to the Claims Administrator at the address designated in the Notice no later than the Claim Filing/Objection Deadline. Opt-Out Requests must: (i) be timely submitted by the Claim Filing/Objection Deadline; (ii) be signed by the person in the Settlement Class who is requesting to be excluded from the Settlement Class; (iii) include the name and address of the person in the Settlement Class requesting exclusion; and (iv) include a statement or words to the effect of the following: “I request to be excluded from the Brandt BIPA Settlement, and understand that by doing so I will not be entitled to receive any of the benefits from the settlement.” No person in the Settlement Class, or any person acting on behalf of or in concert or participation with that person in the Settlement Class, may exclude any other person in the Settlement Class from the Settlement Class.

      To be valid, you must mail your exclusion request postmarked no later than June 10, 2022 to the claims administrator at Brandt BIPA Settlement, c/o Settlement Administrator, PO Box 23369, Jacksonville, FL 32241.

  14. If I do not exclude myself, can I sue Brandt for the same thing later?

    1. No. If you do not exclude yourself, you give up any right to sue (or continue to sue) Brandt or any Released Parties for the claims that this settlement resolves.

  15. If I exclude myself, can I get a benefit from this Settlement?

    1. No. If you exclude yourself, you will not receive a settlement payment and you cannot object to the settlement.

  16. How do I tell the Court that I do not think the Settlement is fair?

    1. If you are in the Settlement Class, you can object to the settlement or any part of the settlement that you think the Court should reject, and the Court will consider your views. If you do not provide a written objection in the manner described below, you shall be deemed to have waived any objection and shall forever be foreclosed from making any objection to the fairness, reasonableness, or adequacy of the settlement, or the award of any attorneys’ fees and expenses, and/or any proposed service award.

      To object, you must make your objection in writing, stating that you object to the Settlement. To be considered by the Court, the written objection must personally sign the objection and provide the following information with it: (i) full name, current address, and current telephone number; (ii) documentation sufficient to establish membership in the Settlement Class; (iii) a statement of reasons for the objection, including the factual and legal grounds for the objector’s position; and (iv) copies of any other documents the objecting Settlement Class Member wishes to submit in support of his/her/its position.

      To be considered, you must file your objections with the Court and mail your objections to the addresses below no later than June 10, 2022.

      For Plaintiff:

      Keith J. Keogh
      Gregg M. Barbakoff
      Keogh Law, Ltd.
      55 Monroe St., 3390
      Chicago, IL 60603

      For Defendants:

      Keith Braskich
      David Lubben    
      Davis & Campbell L.L.C.
      401 Main Street, Suite 1600
      Peoria, IL 61602

       

  17. What is the difference between objecting and excluding yourself?

    1. Objecting is telling the Court that you do not like something about the settlement. You can object only if you stay in the Settlement Class. Excluding yourself means that you do not want to be part of the Settlement Class. If you exclude yourself, you have no basis to object because the case no longer affects you.

  18. What happens if I do nothing at all?

    1. If you do nothing, you will still receive a payment from settlement and give up your rights to sue Brandt or any other released parties related to a released claim. For information relating to what rights you are giving up, see Question 9.

  19. When and where will the Court decide whether to approve the Settlement?

    1. The Court will hold a Final Approval Hearing at 10:00 a.m. on July 26, 2022 in Courtroom B, United States Courthouse, 100 N.E. Monroe Street, Peoria, Illinois 61602. The Court may also order the hearing to take place remotely via Zoom or such other remote communication system as the Court may direct. At this hearing, the Court will consider whether the settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate. If there are valid objections that comply with the requirements in Question 16 above, the Court also will consider them and will listen to people who have asked to speak at the hearing. The Court may also decide how much to pay to Class Counsel and Plaintiff.

      The Final Approval Hearing may be moved to a different date or time without additional notice, so it is a good idea to check the Settlement Website for updates.

  20. Do I have to come to the hearing?

    1. No. Class Counsel will appear on behalf of the Settlement Class. But, you are welcome to come, or have your own lawyer appear, at your own expense.

  21. May I speak at the hearing?

    1. You may ask the Court for permission to speak at the Final Approval Hearing, but only in connection with an objection that you have timely submitted to the Court according to the procedure set forth in Question 15 above. To speak at the Final Approval Hearing, you must also file a document with the Court stating your intention to appear. For this document to be considered, it must include your name, address, telephone number and your signature. The document must be filed with the Court no later than June 10, 2022. You cannot speak at the hearing if you exclude yourself from the settlement.

  22. How do I get more information?

    1. This notice is only a summary of the proposed settlement. You can get a copy of the settlement agreement by visiting this website or by emailing the claims administrator at [email protected]. You can also call Class Counsel with any questions at 866.726.1092.

      DO NOT CALL OR WRITE TO THE COURT, THE CLERK OF THE COURT, BRANDT, OR BRANDT’S COUNSEL ABOUT THE SETTLEMENT.