Judge rules that actress suing over IMDB revealing her age has insufficient evidence of fraud, and that the deadline crunch she's feeling in the case is probably her own fault
Huong Hoang, the formerly anonymous actress who's suing IMDB and its parent company Amazon for revealing her true age, suffered a double legal setback this week, as a judge dismissed her fraud claims against the company and denied her motion for relief on the deadlines for the case.
Hoang, whose suit seeks $1 million, had filed an amended complaint in April, claiming that the companies had engaged in fraud by violating their privacy policies by releasing her age. However, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha J. Pechman ruled on Monday that Hoang — who performs under the stage name Junie Hoang — had given insufficient evidence for her claims.
With regard to Hoang's fraud claim against Amazon, Pechman wrote, "Plaintiff only points to one alleged misstatement by Amazon.com — a sentence in Amazon.com's privacy notice stating that Amazon.com will only share customer information with subsidiaries that 'follow practices at least as protective as those described in this privacy notice' … [T]his misstatement is not alleged ith the required degree of particularity."
As for Hoang's fraud claim against IMDB, Pechman noted that Federal Rule 9(b), which she was suing under, "requires a plaintiff both to plead the conduct constituting fraud with some level of specificity and to supply 'reasonable indicia' that fraud occurred. Plaintiff here provides neither."
Pechman continued, "Plaintiff provides no details, beyond her own conclusory allegations, that support an inference that any of the statements she cites are false."
On Wednesday, Pechman, of U.S. District Court in Washington, went further, denying Hoang's motion for relief from deadlines in the case, saying that she was largely to blame for the deadline jam that she claimed to find herself in.
"Plaintiff seeks an extension of deadlines due to purported delays in discovery, but she appears to be largely responsible for these delays," Pechman wrote, noting that her requests for discovery production from IMDB and Amazon were filed more than five months after her original complaint.
Attorneys for Amazon and Hoang have not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.
Hoang originally sued IMDB and Amazon anonymously last October, claiming that IMDB published her age using credit-card information obtained when she signed up for the site's subscription service, IMDBPro. According to her complaint, the publication of her age has substantially damaged her possibilities to find future work, due to ageism in the entertainment industry.
"In the entertainment industry, youth is king,” the suit reads. “If one is perceived to be ‘over-the-hill,’ i.e. approaching 40, it is nearly impossible for an up-and-coming actress, such as the plaintiff, to get work.”
Hoang's credits include "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" and "Gingerdead Man 2: Passion of the Crust."
Hoang later added a claim that Amazon might have also been involved in revealing her age, possibly when she ordered from the site.
A judge later ordered Hoang to reveal her name in order to pursue the case, so that the defendants could properly know who was accusing them.
The case will presumably go forward under Hoang's breach of contract claim against the companies.