IMDB and Amazon move to dismiss suit brought by actress who sued because her real age was revealed
Actress Huong "Junie" Hoang's protracted legal battle against IMDb and Amazon has has taken another dramatic turn, with both defendants moving to have the complaint dismissed with prejudice — and IMDb claiming that Hoang, who sued IMDb for revealing her true age, had lied about her age in order to appear younger. Twice.
In IMDb's motion for summary judgment, filed in U.S. District Court in western Washington on Thursday, IMDb claims that Huong provided a false date of birth when she signed up for IMDb, claiming to be seven years younger than she actually was.
Several years later, the motion says, she contacted IMDb and asked the company to remove that birth date — and replace it with one that would make her seem even younger.
After IMDb asked for proof that its published birth date was incorrect, Hoang demanded that the company investigate its records — at which point it did, eventually uncovering her true date of birth through a third-party public-records database.
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"Hoang now seeks to hold IMDb liable for publishing the truth," IMDb says in its motion. "Yet none of these events would have occurred if Hoang had not first provided IMDb with a false birth date, and then insisted that IMDb investigate its own files for proof of her birth date."
IMDb also claims that Hoang — a native of Vietnam — used a fake passport to provide a false date of birth to the company.
Hoang sued IMDb anonymously 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.
Hoang is seeking $1 million from the companies.
IMDb is seeking the dismissal under the claim that Hoang has "unclean hands" in the suit, due to the alleged deceptions about her age. The company also says that the court should dismiss Hoang's breach of contract claim, because she "cannot — as a matter of law — prove that IMDb.com breached breached any provision of its Subscriber Agreement or she incurred any economic loss because of IMDb.com’s actions."
In its own motion for summary judgment, Amazon says it has no part in Hoang's contract with IMDb, and thus she cannot prove a breach-of-contract claim against Amazon. (The company maintains that its only involvement was to process her credit-card payment when she signed up for the subscription service IMDbPro. It denies having anything to do with the uncovering or publication of Hoang's true age.)
Amazon further asks that Hoang's claim under the Consumer Protection Act should be tossed, because she cannot prove that the company had engaged in an unfair or deceptive act or practice.
Amazon's motion also says that its motion should be granted "for the reasons articulated in IMDb's motion."
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.