Over the last weekend, law firm Loevy & Loevy (L&L) sought an order from Chicago, Ill. federal court overseeing a sprawling biometric privacy case against Clearview AI for clarification that the judge intended to appoint the L&L firm as lead class counsel. The motion comes amidst a dispute with former associate Scott Drury, who L&L claims tried to force it off the case.
As previous coverage has explained, the suit involves allegations that the Clearview AI and its leaders scraped photos from the internet for use in a database identifying millions of Americans by their unique face print in a manner afoul of the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA). Most recently, Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman granted the plaintiffs’ request to expand and extend discovery over the defendants’ objections. Reportedly, settlement negotiations are also underway.
L&L explains the circumstances giving rise to its request, starting with the firm’s hiring of Drury in 2019. In August 2020, Mike Kanovitz and Drury of L&L were appointed interim lead class counsel. The motion adds that while Drury has been “very involved in the litigation to date” it has been under the direction and supervision of senior L&L partners.
In July 2022, Drury allegedly met with the Clearview AI defendants about settlement without notifying his firm. In September 2022 and on the eve of another BIPA trial, Drury tendered his resignation, allegedly throwing L&L into chaos.
Now, the filing explains that the firm and Drury are at odds, and hanging in the balance is the interest of the Clearview AI class. L&L claims that Drury’s attempt to force the firm off this case and the other BIPA suit leads it to “the only possible conclusion is that Mr. Drury is committed to his own economic interests to the exclusion of the class.”
L&L asserts that while it does not wish to bar Drury from participation in the case, members of the class would be best served by an order affirming that L&L remains lead class counsel, and continues to be responsible for supervising and directing the suit.
In a statement provided to Law Street Media, Drury said that “I strongly dispute the various assertions made by my former firm in its motion. I look forward to filing my own robust response on November 1 as ordered by the Court, which will rebut the motion and set the record straight. At all times, I have represented the best interests of my clients and putative class members. Presently, it would not serve their best interests for me to try to condense or preview my response in a brief statement.”