HomeTechnologyArtificial intelligenceU.S. judge warns law firms in Clearview AI lawsuit over 'disarray'

U.S. judge warns law firms in Clearview AI lawsuit over ‘disarray’

  • Loevy & Loevy confirmed as co-attorney in litigation with attorney who left firm
  • Judge says nomination order can be changed if it’s in the best interest of the class

(Reuters) – Law firm Loevy & Loevy remains co-lead counsel in a proposed class action against facial recognition startup Clearview AI Inc, a federal judge in Chicago said this week, following a rift between the firm and one of its former attorneys. “disorder” about their role in the case.

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman confirmed this on November 23 to order that last year she had appointed the Loevy firm “as a whole,” rather than individually appoint attorney Scott Drury, a former Illinois state representative who left the firm in September to run a solo practice.

Lawyers at Loevy said last month that Drury claimed an individual leadership role to sideline the company just as a potentially lucrative settlement is in the works.

The proposed class action accuses Clearview of violating an Illinois law that regulates the collection and distribution of biometric data, such as fingerprints or retinal scans. Clearview allegedly scraped billions of facial images from the internet and sold information without permission. The company disputes the claims.

Coleman ruled this week that lawyers for the Loevy firm can retract court documents that said they withdrew from the case. They filed those papers at the request of clients who followed Drury to his new firm.

She warned all plaintiffs’ attorneys that “the court retains the ability to change her nomination at any time if it is in the best interest of the class.”

Drury declined to comment on Friday. He previously denied any inappropriate conduct in the matter. In a lawsuit, Drury alleged that the Loevy firm “made false claims about [his] character and intent” after his departure, and that he was the impetus for the company’s work on the case.

Jon Loevy said in a statement Wednesday that his firm “looks forward to working with the other firms to best represent the interests of the class.”

A Clearview spokesperson did not immediately respond to a message asking for comment.

Coleman gave plaintiffs’ lawyers a December 15 deadline to discuss their coordination plans. She also ordered the Loevy firm to propose a compensation process that would “avoid future litigation over attorney fees.”

The Loevy firm won a $228 million jury verdict against BNSF Railway Co in October in a lawsuit in Chicago federal court alleging violations of the state’s biometric privacy law.

The case is In re Clearview AI Inc Consumer Privacy Litigation, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, no. 1:21-cv-00135.

Read more:

Lawyer says ex-firm not equipped to lead Clearview AI lawsuit

Law firm says ex-lawyer is trying to take over Clearview AI lawsuit

Judge chooses Loevy & Loevy attorney to lead in Clearview AI privacy litigation

Reporting by Mike Scarcella

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

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