A pair of contestants on the short-lived Fox game show "Million Dollar Money Drop" who claim that they were duped into losing more than $500,000 on the show are taking their case to court in hopes of reaping the windfall that they allege they were bilked out of.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Andrew and Patricia Murray say that the staff of the show repeatedly reassured them that there would be "no deceptive, subjective or trick questions," and that the Murrays should "go for it" if they knew the answer.
However, the complaint alleges, as they approached victory on the show with $580,000 on the line, they were hit with a trick question on the most common computer password.
The question read, "According to the data security team Imperva, what is the most common computer password?" The options they were offered were "Password," "123456" and "I Love You." Based on "their personal knowledge of surveys and articles," the Murrays answered "password" — and lost the whole bundle, after the "correct" answer was revealed to be "123456."
The Murrays claim that Imperva's data is based specifically on a hacking incident that occurred at the website Rockyou.com, and not an overall survey of computer passwords. And in any case, they claim, they were led to believe that the question was meant to test their knowledge of computer passwords in general, and not on the findings of a lone company.
"Imperva can hardly be considered a preeminent, well-known and reliable source to give a definitive answer to the question 'what is the most common computer password,'" the suit reads. "As a result, the contestants could not use their own knowledge or experience to answer the question, but had to guess at what Imperva asserted was the most important password."
Had they known that the question was limited to Imperva's findings based on a lone hacking incident, the Murrays claim, they would have adjusted their bet.
"Million Dollar Money Drop," which aired from December 2010 to February 2011 and was hosted by Kevin Pollak (above), featured contestants placing different amounts of money on trap doors representing answers. If they answered incorrectly, the money was lost through the trap door. Contestants were allowed to adjust the amount they bet based on their confidence in knowing the correct answer.
The Murrays are suing Fox, as well as the production companies Endemol USA, Brigadier Productions and Apploff Entertainment, saying that they not only wrongfully lost the money, but "were also subjected to the embarrassment of losing such a large sum on national television."
Fox offered no comment on the lawsuit to TheWrap. Endemol has not yet responded to TheWrap's request for comment.
Alleging negligent misrepresentation, intentional misrepresentation, breach of oral and written contract, negligence per se and common-law fraud, the suit is seeking unspecified damages, plus the cost of bringing the suit, attorneys' fees and interest.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.