Federal Judge Cuts Down Actress’s Claims in Suit Against Amazon, IMDb for Posting Her Age Online
U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman released an order on July 2, 2012 granting a joint motion by IMDb.com Inc. and parent company Amazon.com Inc. to dismiss actress Junie Hoang’s claims that IMDb’s and Amazon’s privacy notices were fraudulent.
40-year old Hoang brought a breach of contract and privacy suit against IMDb and Amazon in October for finding and publishing her true age online. Hoang claimed that after she signed up for an IMDbPro account, her legal date of birth was added to her public acting profile on IMDb.com.
The actress originally filed her claim anonymously, however, in November, Judge Pechman ordered Hoang to amend her complaint using her real name, stating that the actress’s fears of embarrassment and ridicule did not rise to the level of severity required to permit a party to bring a case anonymously in federal court.
In her January amended complaint, Hoang claimed that the posting of her true birth date revealed to the public that the actress is “many years older than she looks,” causing her to suffer an overall diminution in the value of her acting services. The company refused to remove the date despite the actress’ repeated requests.
Hoang claims that Amazon and IMDb data-mined her credit card information in order to find her date of birth and then publish the date online. The actress filed a second amended complaint in April, alleging that Amazon misrepresented in its privacy agreement that it would not share the personal information of its customers when it would in fact use that information to build profiles.
Amazon and IMDb responded to these complaints, arguing that Hoang’s fraud claims lacked the level of specificity required to bring a fraud claim, particularly because Hoang failed to distinguish between Amazon and IMDb in her claims.
In the order, Judge Pechman dismissed Hoang’s fraud claim with prejudice, stating: “Because plaintiff fails to allege the circumstance of fraud with particularity…and because plaintiff does not state the elements of a fraud claim under Washington law against either defendant, the court dismisses plaintiff’s fraud claim with prejudice.”