Washington Federal Court Allows Data Privacy Case Against IMDb to Proceed


On March 28, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington held that actress Huong Hoang’s lawsuit against website IMDb.com pled sufficient facts to move forward on her breach of contract and Washington Consumer Protection Act claims, based in part on the website’s privacy policy. Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc., No. C11-1709MJP (W.D. Wash. Mar. 28, 2012). IMDb, a subsidiary of Amazon, moved to dismiss Ms. Hoang’s four claims. Although two claims were dismissed, the court found that the defendant did not show that Ms. Hoang gave IMDb permission to use her information provided when subscribing to the website to search public records for additional information about her. Plaintiff pointed to a statement in the IMDb privacy policy that it would “carefully and sensibly” manage how information about customers is used and shared, and that “[y]ou can choose not to provide certain information….” Plaintiff alleges that IMDb used the personal information she provided, including credit card information, to locate her date of birth, among other things. Ms. Hoang alleged that IMDb then added her date of birth and age to its website, causing her to lose roles and decrease her earnings.  Defendant’s motion to dismiss the remaining claims was denied.


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