Actress Suing IMDb for Revealing Her Age Gets Trial Date

Huong Junie Hoang Headshot - P 2012

Huong Junie Hoang Headshot - P 2012

Now that Huang Hoang has been outed as the actress who sued IMDb for publishing her age, the case continues on the substantive issues. On Monday, the lawsuit got a tentative trial date. Assuming there is no settlement, summary judgment outcome or any unforseen delays, the attorneys for the parties expect to have a one or two-day jury trial that begins January 7, 2013.

Hoang is alleging breach of contract, fraud and violation of Washington's Privacy and Consumer Protection Act.

Besides the identity of the plaintiff, much of the discussion since the lawsuit was filed in October has pertained to whether IMDb owner Amazon had a right to publish truthful facts about the plaintiff. Perhaps most significant in the lawsuit will be how IMDb attained Hoang's true birthdate and whether the disclosure was insulated by the company's privacy policies.

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Hoang says IMDb grabbed her personal info when she used a credit card to sign up for the professional version of the service. In a motion to dismiss, Amazon says this is mere "speculation" on her part.

Both sides will participate in a discovery process that is expected to last until August 10. The parties will have a month after that to submit motions that will determine whether the case goes further or gets wrapped up in the preliminary stage.

Hoang will likely seek evidence of how Amazon got her birthdate. But even if the company did use her credit information, Amazon has asserted that its privacy policy gave it the right to use this information.

According to IMDb's privacy policy, the company discloses that it uses the information given to the website for, among other things, "improving our site." The policy terms also links to examples of collected data, including "your name, e-mail address, physical address, zip code, and phone number; your age and gender; the movies and actors you like or dislike; and your general movie preferences."

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Whether or not IMDb's boilerplate language gave it license to publish sensitive personal data will be fussed over in the lawsuit. The parties will likely have privacy policy experts weighing in on the subject. The deadline for these expert witness reports is June 11.

Hoang is represented by John Dozier at Dozier Internet Law. Amazon is represented by a team at Perkins Coie. The federal judge in the case is Marsha Pechman.


Twitter: @eriqgardner