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(Reuters) – A Chicago lawyer filed a class action lawsuit against facial recognition startup Clearview AI Inc. on Tuesday night pushed back accusations that he tried to force his former law firm out of the case.
Scott Drury, a former Illinois state representative, left plaintiffs’ law firm Loevy & Loevy in September to start his own firm. Loevy’s firm said last week that Drury was trying to “maximize his personal economic stake” by trying to sideline the company ahead of a potential settlement with Clearview.
Loevy & Loevy asked the Illinois federal judge overseeing the lawsuit to affirm that this is the class attorney in the case and not Drury. Drury countered on Tuesday that Loevy did not know what the Clearview litigation was about, despite being the driving force behind the case.
The Clearview lawsuit, filed by a group of Illinois residents in federal court in Chicago, alleges the company secretly scraped billions of facial images from the Internet and sold the data without consent. Clearview denied any wrongdoing.
Last month, the Loevy company won a $228 million jury verdict against railroad giant BNSF Railway Co in a separate lawsuit filed under the same Illinois biometrics law that Clearview is charged with. to have raped.
Drury on Tuesday denied the Loevy Company’s accusation that he secretly met with a lawyer for the Clearview defendants in July to discuss a framework for settlement. He said the company knew he was meeting with Lee Wolosky, a senior Jenner & Block partner who represents Clearview and other co-defendants, and that he “updated” the company afterwards.
“Indeed, it is striking that, while L&L makes misrepresentations regarding Drury’s character and intent, it underscores its hope that Drury will continue to work with L&L on the case,” Drury wrote in his answer.
Drury said the Loevy company owed him “hundreds of thousands of dollars.” He declined to comment outside of the filings. In late August, the company offered Drury a $400,000 bounty not to leave.
Loevy & Loevy’s Jon Loevy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman appointed “Scott R. Drury of Loevy & Loevy” as acting lead counsel in the Clearview class action lawsuit in March 2021.
Drury proposed to the judge on Tuesday that attorneys from two other plaintiffs’ firms — Bursor & Fisher and Hedin Hall — be appointed as acting co-lead counsel alongside him.
Wolosky declined to comment. Frank Hedin of Hedin Hall and Joshua Arisohn of Bursor & Fisher did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
(NOTE: This story has been updated.)
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