Compliance » Federal Judge Rules Insurance Group Exempt from Defending Condiment Maker in Lawsuit

Federal Judge Rules Insurance Group Exempt from Defending Condiment Maker in Lawsuit

Federal Judge Rules Insurance Group Exempt from Defending Condiment Maker in Lawsuit

March 5, 2024

In Citizens Insurance Co. of America v. Mullins Food Products Inc. et al., a federal judge in Illinois ruled in favor of Hanover Insurance Group, a unit of Citizens, regarding two policy exclusions relieving them from defending a condiment maker against a lawsuit alleging violations of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). The judge initially denied Citizens’ summary judgment motion but later reconsidered, influenced by a December 2023 decision by the Illinois Court of Appeals, according to an article by Business Insurance.

The exclusions in question pertain to the recording and distribution of material or information in violation of the law, as well as the access or disclosure of confidential or personal information. The judge determined that these exclusions in the policy issued to Mullins Food Products could encompass alleged violations of BIPA, echoing the precedent set by the appellate court case.

Citizens had filed suit against Mullins and Ricardo Galan in 2022, seeking a declaration that it was not obligated to cover a proposed class action initiated by Galan in February 2018. Galan’s lawsuit claimed that while employed at Mullins from August 2016 to July 2019, he was required to use biometric identifiers such as fingerprints and handprints for time tracking and that Mullins unlawfully disseminated this information in violation of BIPA. The judge’s ruling indicates that Citizens is not required to provide coverage in this instance.

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