Appellate Victories

Our relentless pursuit of justice doesn’t stop with a win at the trial court. We defend important judgments on appeal to establish precedent not only for our clients, but for other victims as well.

A Watershed Victory for Workers at the United States Supreme Court:

Saxon v. Southwest Airlines: Thousands of companies force their employees to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, stripping away their right to bring future claims in court or on a class-wide basis, and forcing them to keep all claims of company mistreatment under wraps. When Southwest Airlines claimed that it could force certain employees to arbitrate their claims, we argued – in a case of first impression – that these employees were exempt from having to arbitrate under federal law and should have their day in Court.  We took the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court which, in a landmark decision, agreed with us and ruled in our favor. See, e.g., press here, and here. As a result, thousands of employees nationwide retain their right to have their claims heard in court by a jury.

Groundbreaking Victories for Privacy Rights at the Illinois Supreme Court:

Tims v. Black Horse Carriers, Inc.: In Illinois, if a law does not have an explicit statute of limitations period (the time between when a legal violation occurs and when a lawsuit can be filed), then the period is five years. Because the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) does not specify a statute of limitations period, we argued that BIPA claims are subject to the default five-year statute of limitations. The Illinois Appellate Court found that only some provisions of BIPA were subject to a five-year limitations period and other provisions of BIPA were subject to a two-year period. We took our case to the Illinois Supreme Court.

Agreeing with us, the Supreme Court decided that all claims under BIPA are subject to a five-year limitations period – the maximum available under the law.   See, e.g., press here and here.  Because of our firm’s efforts, anyone whose rights have been violated in any way under BIPA have five years to bring their claims.

Cothron v. White Castle System, Inc.: In determining the statute of limitations for claims under the Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”), another hotly-disputed question is when the clock starts ticking to bring that claim –the first time that an individual’s biometric data is collected or disclosed without informed consent, or the last time?  Naturally, companies that repeatedly broke the law by collecting biometric data multiple times from the same person argued it should be the first time, as this result would severely limit the time in which the individual could bring suit.

In another seminal victory for plaintiffs, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed with us and ruled that BIPA claims accrue not just the first time but every time a private entity collects or discloses biometric data without informed consent in violation of BIPA.  See, e.g., press here and here.  As a result, the five-year statute of limitations for anyone whose rights have been violated under BIPA begins to run at the last collection of biometric data without informed consent.

More Appellate Victories for Plaintiffs:

Fisher v. HP Property Management, LLC:  Companies that are based outside of Illinois must do sufficient business activity within the state in order for Illinois courts to have jurisdiction over claims against them.  KEYper Systems, an out-of-state manufacturer of a biometric key security system, argued that Illinois users of its biometric device did not adequately allege that it (1) purposefully directed its conduct at Illinois residents or (ii) their injuries arose from the manufacturer’s Illinois-related activities.

The Illinois Appellate Court ruled in our favor, finding that KEYper’s contacts with Illinois, including providing ongoing services to customers in Illinois, establishes prima facie personal jurisdiction for potential injuries arising from those contacts. This decision curtailed out-of-state companies’ attempts to avoid their duty to comply with the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) and expanded protection of the sensitive biometric data of Illinois citizens.

Liu v. Four Seasons Hotel, Ltd.: Companies love forcing employee disputes to arbitration, where a company’s wrongdoing is adjudicated in a closed-door proceeding without a jury, judge or requirement to follow any of the procedural, discovery or evidentiary rules applied in court.  Making matters worse, the employee must stand alone, without the ability to bring claims as a class action, even when the claims concern widespread illegality which impacts hundreds or thousands of others.  When Four Seasons argued that its employees, whose biometric privacy rights it had violated for years, should be forced to individually arbitrate their claims under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”) as “employment disputes” subject to its arbitration agreement, we argued that BIPA is a law applying inside and outside of the workplace, and that Four Seasons could not create an after-the-fact loophole to avoid liability under BIPA.

The Illinois Appellate Court ruled in our favor, agreeing that BIPA is not just a workplace law and confers a duty on all private entities with respect to all Illinois citizens. See, e.g., press here.  This means that absent specific language in an arbitration agreement covering BIPA claims, people whose rights have been violated under the statute may pursue their claims in court.

Ohle v. Neiman Marcus Group: A job applicant’s credit score is rarely relevant to their qualifications for a job. This is why the Illinois General Assembly enacted the Employee Credit Privacy Act (“ECPA”) in 2011 – to ensure that individuals who face “financial hardships that are often unpreventable” an opportunity to obtain gainful employment despite bad credit where their credit history has no bearing on their job performance. When Nieman Marcus denied a job applicant a position solely because of her credit report, we argued that this constituted discrimination against Plaintiff in violation of the ECPA as the retail position did not trigger any of the seven limited scenarios where a credit check is allowed during a job application process. While Neiman Marcus argued that the job position involved access to personally identifiable information of its customers, but we argued that the sales associates were merely conduits of personally identifiable information – i.e., that they would take a customer’s store credit card application and give it to a manager for processing.

The Illinois Appellate Court ruled in our favor, agreeing that the Employee Credit Privacy Act did not allow for credit checks for employees who do not actually handle personally identifiable information, but just act as conduits who give the information to someone else. See more here. This landmark decision ensured that individuals applying for cashier positions would not be subject to credit checks simply because they operated cash drawers and credit cards, even if working in high-end retail establishments.

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What Our Clients Are Saying

The law firm, Stephan Zouras, handled a matter for me that was very problematic - I cannot be too specific because of the nondisclosure agreement, but suffice it to say that they came through for me FAR beyond my expectations - TWICE, in TWO separate cases. I will DEFINITELY use them in the future if I ever have any similar cases against unfair employers. Anyone that thinks attorneys are not accessible needs to hire this firm. Every staff member (Kerry, Ryan, many others) was polite, and professional, understanding, kind, and sympathetic. Thanks again, to all of you on my settlement!

- Don D.

Jim Zouras is a dedicated and caring professional who fights for the rights of ordinary people. Throughout what could have been a difficult process, I always felt Jim “had my back” and was looking out for my best interests.

- Stephanie L.

I worked with Andy Ficzko, an associate of Stephan Zouras. I cannot thank the team, especially Andy, enough for helping me to settle a dispute that I had for a few years. I didn't know where to go and am so thankful that I was directed to use this group. Andy worked hard and was persistent in getting a settlement for me. He always kept me in the loop, did what was in my best interest and never gave up. After years in this dispute, it only took a few short months for Andy to help me walk away with a win. He worked hard to help me and I am so appreciative to him! This is the best group around! Thank you and here's to continued success!!

- Jennifer S.

I was a part of a class action suit which Teresa Becvar handled. Numerous times I had questions and Teresa always returned my phone calls or emails quickly. She was courteous and knowledgeable and encouraging. I am feeling so blessed with the outcome of our lawsuit and I appreciate everything STEPHAN ZOURAS LLP, ATTORNEYS AT LAW DID FOR ME.

- Erika

I would highly recommend that you use this firm. Anna at Stephan Zouras, LLP is an incredibly compassionate person, one who's committed to resolving your case. I couldn't be happier with the results pertaining to my case. And most importantly, they are extremely knowledgeable and informative to clients. Thank you Anna and all the staff at Stephan Zouras. My extended family SALUTE!

- Mr. JB

I couldn't have been happier with Ryan Stephan. I handle securities administrative work and it's difficult to find someone to help when I need advice and legal assistance. Ryan is not only knowledgeable but communicative and responsive. I'm grateful to have him in my corner and highly recommend him and his firm.

- Mary

Stephan Zouras law firm is one of the best. My personal experience with Teresa and the firm was phenomenal. Teresa always kept me informed and genuinely showed she cared. I would recommend this firm and Teresa to anyone looking for honest people that will fight for you and go the extra mile.

- LaChelle

I worked with Jim Zouras and it was a pleasure. He told us what to expect and what NOT to expect, and that is exactly how things happened. He talked to me like I had a brain but was not a lawyer and I appreciated that. Hope I never need him again but would hire him again in a second.

- April W.

Ryan represented me and my co-workers as part of a large class-action lawsuit against our former employer for multiple violations of labor law. I did not choose him myself, but am so glad somebody found him because he is one of the best attorneys I've ever met. He is dedicated and driven by a sense of moral justice which is increasingly uncommon in any industry today. When working with me, he was incredibly professional combining a sense of empowerment and ferocity in his approach. He is sensitive to his clients' needs and is able to craft a deadly offense while maintaining only the position that his client(s) desire. He ensures that his clients get a stellar advocate in court who will serve as their voice. He won our case resulting in recompense for hard-working people who were unfairly denied pay for work they performed for their company across the course of several years. If you are looking for an OUTSTANDING attorney, Ryan Stephan is your guy.

- Erica

I was always kept in the loop with my suit, and their persistence has paid off in the long run. I would recommend this firm to anyone looking to do a class action lawsuit. Ryan and the staff at Stephan Zouras are the best!

- Liz F.

If you need a hard-working, detailed, compassionate and cooperative class action attorney, this is your guy [Andy Ficzko]! He keeps in constant contact so you are always in the loop. No question goes unanswered and he makes you feel valued. Unlike some lawyers, he is not pretentious, but very professional and thorough. He handled my case seamlessly and it only required one visit to his office. From beginning to end, my case was completed in about 11 months. I am very happy with the outcome of my case!

- Cheryl

Ryan worked me while I was part of class action against a former employer who was in violation of various labor laws. He was very pleasant to work with. My overall experience with the firm was very positive and I highly recommend him and his team.

- Hassan

Jim Zouras and the legal team at Stephan Zouras did a thorough and outstanding job recovering overtime wages against a former employer. The case was handled as a class action, and Jim and his staff were complete professionals in promptly responding to calls, emails, answering questions, and keeping all of us informed throughout the process. They are dedicated to their work and exceeded our expectations. I would gladly recommend their services to anyone having issues with their employer.

- Kristin

A great firm to deal with - very personable. Kept up to date on the case and always gave me options. Ryan, his staff and the receptionist were all very nice and helpful at all times. Very satisfied with the results of the case. If you ever need an attorney he will be there for you and walk you through it.

- Brent

I worked with Jim Zouras as well as Teresa Becvar in a class action and won with a settlement that benefited a large group of fellow former employees. Communication was always very good and they were always helpful in answering any questions as well as preparing me for what was coming and what to expect.

- Ryan

This review is long overdue but my sentiments are still as overwhelmingly positive and strong for the firm-especially Ryan, Haley and Emily many months later. From day one Ryan made me feel like my case was his most important case, that I was not who was wrong, and that more than anything they were on my side. Their firm and the way they listen and make you feel is why I imagine one would go into practicing law. During my deposition the court reporter even commented how nice Ryan was- there is no need to be a jerk to get what you want. I'm not saying I would do this again but if Ryan and Haley were on my team I would not hesitate. In the end it was not like TV but Ryan is a true Hollywood hero in my world! And Haley a virtual rising star. I am forever grateful for them and helping me close an ugly chapter in my life.

- Roxann P.

Let me say I've sought out the assistance of this firm on three different occasions and I was never let down. This last time around it was a bit more involved with frequent visits and conference calls. When I tell you that they are great people to work with you can bet on it. Andy, Ryan and Anna were always on top of the matter along with updates all the time. They are awesome at what they do and I would STRONGLY RECOMMEND this firm to address your needs. Thanks again team for believing in me and seeing me through it all.

- Jeff

Teresa is a patient and very efficient lawyer. She has excellent communication, is detail oriented, calm and supportive. She helped me with a legal matter and was outstanding. I would recommend her to anyone in her area of specialty.

- Unpaid Wages Client
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