insurance policy
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A senior living and memory care operator’s insurance policies don’t cover wrongful employment practices, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Judge Charles Kocoras ruled that Church Mutual Insurance Co. of Wisconsin does not have to defend Prairie Village Supportive Living, doing business as Eagle’s View Supportive Living and Memory Care in Illinois, in a potential class action suit.

Brian Field, a former Eagle’s View employee, filed a potential class action lawsuit in January 2021 against the company, alleging that Prairie Village unlawfully collected, used and disseminated biometric identifiers in violation of Illinois’ Biometric Information Privacy Act.

Illinois adopted the biometrics law in 2008 — the first of its kind — to regulate the collection, use, storage, retention and destruction of biometric identifiers and information, such as fingerprints, voiceprints, face geometry scans, and eye or hand scans.

Church Mutual argued in a July 2021 complaint that its policies with Prairie did not cover “wrongful employment practices,” including “invasion of privacy.” Church Mutual issued four policies to Prairie Village between April 2019 and 2022.

The insurance company said that its coverage states that it will pay for losses arising from injury claims for wrongful employment practices but that it has “no duty to defend the insured against any suit seeking payment for ‘loss’ to which this insurance does not apply.” 

Field claimed in his lawsuit that during his employment, Prairie Village required him to use a fingerprint scanner to clock in and out for his shift. He alleged that he did not sign a waiver and that Prairie Village did not provide a written release to collect his biometric data.

The lawsuit further alleged that Prairie Village failed to adopt and provide its employees with a written policy identifying its retention schedule and guidelines for permanently destroying employee biometric information.

In the opinion, Kocoras wrote that Church Mutual owes no duty to defend or indemnify Prairie Village in connection with the underlying lawsuit, and he terminated the case.

Among other senior living providers involved in biometrics lawsuits include Brookdale Senior Living, Capital Senior Living, Lifespace Communities, Senior Lifestyle Corp., Smith Senior Living and Sunrise Senior Living

Prairie Village did not respond to requests for comment from McKnight’s Senior Living prior to the production deadline.