IMDb 'Jane Doe' Lawsuit Suffers Setbacks as Case Moves Toward Trial
Junie Hoang -- aka Huong Hoang, aka the plaintiff formerly known as Jane Doe -- will have her day in court. But it doesn't look like it will be as sunny a day as she had hoped for.
The lawsuit filed by Hoang -- the actress who's suing IMDb.com and its parent company Amazon because the former revealed her age on her IMDb profile -- will go forward on April 8 as scheduled.
However, a judge granted some of Amazon and IMDB's motions for summary judgment, denying one.
In a ruling filed Monday night, Judge Marsha J. Pechman of U.S. District Court in western Washington, granted IMDb's motion for a summary judgment in Huong's claim that IMDb had violated Washington's Consumer Protection Act in revealing Hoang's name. In that section of her ruling, Pechman found that Hoang "cannot show that the public interest is impacted by IMDb's actions."
Pechman also granted Amazon's motion for summary judgment, finding that "there is no evidence Amazon was involved in any of the alleged wrongdoing," as previous filings from Hoang's legal team had suggested.
"Amazon is dismissed," Pechman wrote in her filing.
In at least a partial victory for Hoang, Pechman denied IMDb's motion for summary judgment on her claim that the company had breached its contract with Hoang.
Nonetheless, Hoang said in a statement that she's "very gratified" that the case is going forward to trial in some capacity.
"I am obviously very gratified by the court's decision to allow my case to go to trial," Hoang said. "What's at stake here involves far more than just my own career. Anyone who values their privacy and has ever given credit card information to an online company like IMDb or Amazon.com should be concerned about the outcome. We entrust companies like these with ever-growing mountains of data about ourselves and when they violate that trust, they must be held to account."
When Hoang goes to court, she won't be arriving alone; according to court papers, Hoang's legal team plans to call a number of witnesses, including 9 people who claim that IMDb refused to remove their dates of birth when asked.
Hoang anonymously filed a $1 million suit against IMDb in in October 2011 for publishing her correct date of birth. The actress claimed that the publication of her birth date -- which revealed her to be 40 at the time -- would hurt her chances of finding acting jobs. She later added Amazon, which owns IMDb, to her suit, claiming that the former had helped the latter obtain her date of birth.
A judge later compelled her to reveal her name if she wanted the case to go forward.
IMDb later claimed that Hoang twice lied about her age to the company, in one instance presenting a fake passport.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.