On September 17, 2021, the Illinois Court of Appeals for the First District ruled that some BIPA claims are subject to a five year statute of limitations, while others must be brought within one year. In Tims v. Black Horse Carriers, Inc., 2021 IL App (1st) 200563, the appellate court accepted a certified question from the trial court, seeking clarification of BIPA’s applicable statute of limitations.

The Illinois law regulating biometrics has been making headlines in the last few years, with the most recent clash focusing on the period within which plaintiffs have to bring a claimed violation. BIPA itself does not contain a statute of limitations, and courts have wrestled over the proper applicable time period. Some courts have applied the catch-all five year statute of limitations, while others thought the one year statute of limitations applicable to state privacy actions should apply. In Black Horse Carriers, the court found both statutes of limitations applied depending on the specific claimed BIPA violation.

The court found that claims brought under Sections 15(c) and (d), for sale and disclosure of biometrics, respectively, are subject to the one year statute of limitations. All other BIPA claims, such as those brought under Section 15(a) for failure to provide notice, Section 15(b) for failure to obtain written release, and Section 15(e) for failure to use reasonable care, are subject to the state’s five year catch-all requirement.


As many BIPA-related questions continue to make their way through the appellate process, it is prudent to watch how the judicial landscape continues to take shape.