December 24, 2011 11:50am PT by Matthew Belloni
Actress Forced to Reveal Name in IMDB Lawsuit
The actress suing Hollywood information database IMDb for listing her true age cannot move forward with the case unless she reveals her identity, a federal judge has ruled.
In a sharply-worded decision issued on Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman found that while the anonymous actress who sued for $1 million fears blacklisting and other retribution in Hollywood if her true identity is known, "the injury she fears is not severe enough to justify permitting her to proceed anonymously," the ruling states.
Judge Pechman gave the woman who sued as "Jane Doe" 14 days to refile the case under her own name or it will be dismissed. The woman now must choose to either move forward under her real name or drop the litigation entirely.
The IMDb case, first filed in October against IMDb and parent Amazon, argues that actors who are perceived as "over the hill" at age 40 have trouble finding work. The case has become something of a lightning rod in Hollywood as both actor guilds, SAG and AFTRA, backed the lawsuit, arguing that the listing service opens up actors to discrimination in ageist casting circles. Another actor later came forward to blast IMDb for listing his age incorrectly in an opinion piece published by The Hollywood Reporter.
In its motion to dismiss, IMDb argued that the actress was being "selfish" and that she wouldn't suffer significant discrimination from revealing her actual name in the lawsuit. The judge essentially agreed, siding with the strong public interest in litigants proceeding publically in open court. She declined to award monetary sanctions to either side.
The woman, who apparently resides in Texas, must now decide whether the case is worth the trouble of litigating in public. We've reached out to her lawyer, John Dozier, for comment and will update with a response.