ARI J. SCHARG is a Partner at Edelson PC and Co-Chair of the firm’s Public Client and Government Affairs Group, where he counsels state and local governments on a range of policy and strategic issues involving consumer protection, privacy, technology, and data security. Known as an aggressive advocate, Ari leverages his experience litigating hundreds of complex class and mass action lawsuits to help governments prosecute data privacy violations and pursue large-scale cost recovery actions, including those against the pharmaceutical companies responsible for the opioid crisis.
Recognized as one of the leading experts on privacy and emerging technologies, Ari serves on the Executive Oversight Council for the Array of Things Project where he advises on privacy and data security matters, Chairs the Illinois State Bar Association’s Privacy and Information Security Section, and was appointed by the Illinois Senate President to Co-Chair the Illinois Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers Task Force alongside Representative Michael Zalewski (21st Dist.). Ari was selected as an Illinois Rising Star by Super Lawyers (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), and received the Michigan State Bar Foundation’s Access to Justice Award (2017) for “significantly advancing access to justice for the poor” through his consumer cases. Ari regularly speaks about data security and technology at law schools and conferences around the country.
- Representing a broad range of stakeholders in litigation against the opioid companies, including governments, municipal risk pools, labor unions, and health and welfare funds. See, e.g., Int’l Union of Operating Eng’rs, Local 150, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 2019-CH-01548 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.); City of Harvey, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 2018-CH-09020 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.); Village of Melrose Park, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 2018-CH-06601 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.); Intergovernmental Risk Management Agency, et al. v. Purdue Pharma L.P., et al., No. 2018-CH-12828 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Appointed Special Assistant Corporation Counsel for the City of Chicago and Special Assistant by the Cook County State’s Attorney in their consolidated data breach/failure to notify lawsuit against Uber Technologies. City of Chicago and People of Illinois, ex rel. Kimberly M. Foxx, State’s Attorney of Cook County, Ill. v. Uber Technologies, Inc., No. 17-CH-15594 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Appointed Special Assistant by the Cook County State’s Attorney in a suit against Facebook and Cambridge Analytica over their alleged misuse of consumer data. People of Illinois, ex rel. Kimberly M. Foxx, State’s Attorney of Cook County, Ill. v. Facebook, Inc., No. 18-cv-02667 (N.D. Ill.).
- Appointed Special Counsel to the Village of Melrose Park in a suit against Pipeline Health and its partners for allegedly committing fraud and conspiracy in connection with their purchase of Westlake Hospital. Village of Melrose Park v. Pipeline Health System, et al., No. 2019-CH-03041 (Cir. Ct. Cook Cty., Ill.).
- Lead counsel in class actions under the Michigan Preservation of Personal Privacy Act involving the unlawful disclosure of personal information to data miners that secured more than $30 million in cash settlements and industry-changing injunctive relief. See, e.g., Coulter-Owens v. Rodale, No. 14-cv-12688, dkt. 54 (E.D. Mich. Sept. 29, 2016); Kinder v. Meredith Corp., No. 13-cv-11284, dkt. 81 (E.D. Mich. May 18, 2016); Perlin v. Time Inc., 2:16-cv-10635, dkt. 55 (E.D. Mich. Oct. 15, 2018); Halaburda v. Bauer Publ’g Co., No. 12-cv-12831, dkt. 68 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 6, 2015); Moeller v. Am. Media, Inc., No. 5:16-cv-11367, dkt. 42 (E.D. Mich. Jun. 8, 2017).
Community Involvement and Appointments:
- Chair of the Illinois State Bar Association’s Privacy and Information Security Section (2017, 2018, 2019).
- Co-Chair of the Illinois Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers Task Force.
- Appointed as an Observer to the Uniform Law Commission’s Identity Management in Electronic Commerce, Study Committee.
- Digital Privacy Alliance, Board of Directors (2017, 2018, 2019).
- Executive Oversight Council for the Array of Things.
- American Bar Foundation, Fellow.
- Illinois Bar Foundation, Fellow.
- Illinois Trial Lawyers Association, Board of Managers (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019).
- Sixth Municipal Circuit (Markham) High School Mock Trial Competition Committee (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019).
- Graduate of the Anti-Defamation League Glass Leadership Institute.
- Testified before the Michigan House of Representatives Committee on Commerce and Trade about Senate Bill No. 490’s impact on consumer privacy and the surging data mining industry (February 9, 2016).
- Panelist for HB Litigation’s Data Breach & Privacy Conference, “Sleuthing: Investigation & Evidence Collection in a Cyber World” (February 11, 2016).
- Guest speaker at Loyola University Chicago School of Law’s Consumer Law Review Symposium, “Consumer Class Actions in the Social Media Age” (March 18, 2016).
- Guest speaker for the Chicago Bar Association, Consumer Law Committee, “Legal Theories on Privacy & Interconnectivity” (May 5, 2016).
- Guest speaker for the Chicago Bar Association Consumer Law Committee, “Emerging Issues in Privacy and Data Security Litigation” (February 2, 2017).
- Guest speaker at Chi Hack Night, “Mr. Robot Goes to Washington” (February 28, 2017).
- Testified before the Nevada Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee in support of Assembly Bill 313 and to discuss the privacy implications raised by the surreptitious collection and use of geolocation data (April 3, 2017).
- Panelist for the Privacy + Security Forum’s “State Privacy Legislation Trends to Watch” (October 4, 2017).
- Panelist for NetDiligence’s Cyber Risk & Privacy Liability Forum, “Litigation Tips from the Trenches: A Focus on Settlement of Cybersecurity Class Actions and Regulatory Investigations” (October 11, 2017).
- Moderated a fireside chat for Smart Cities Summit’s ”Optimizing Data for Tomorrow’s Cities – Real Time Intelligent Decisions” (October 17, 2017).
- Guest speaker for the Illinois State Bar Association’s Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute Series, “Cybersecurity – Running Your Practice in Today’s High-Tech World” (March 16, 2018).
- Appeared for WTTW’s live broadcast of Chicago Tonight, “Facebook Users’ Personal Data Exploited to Help Trump’s Campaign” (March 20, 2018).
- Guest speaker for the Illinois State Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Law Office Management and Economics, “Cybersecurity for Law Firms” (June 15, 2018).
- Guest speaker for the Chicago Bar Association’s Intellection Property Section, “Cybersecurity and Privacy Law Panel” (March 6, 2019).
- Testified before the Illinois House of Representatives Appropriations-Human Services Committee concerning alleged fraud and conspiracy committed by Pipeline Health in connection with its purchase of Westlake Hospital (March 8, 2019).
- Testified before the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board, as Special Counsel to Melrose Park, in opposition to Pipeline Health’s application to close Westlake Hospital (March 11, 2019).
- Guest speaker for the Lake County Bar Association, “The Biometric Information Privacy Act: Current Landscape and Recent Developments” (May 30, 2019).
Ari received his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor and graduated magna cum laude from The John Marshall Law School where he served as a Staff Editor for THE JOHN MARSHALL LAW REVIEW and competed nationally in trial competitions. During law school, he also served as a judicial extern to The Honorable Judge Bruce W. Black of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.