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IMDB

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Published by Lew Harris

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Published by: Lew Harris on Dec 24, 2011
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12/25/2011

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ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONTO DISMISS PURSUANT TO RULE 10(A) ANDGRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND- 1
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTWESTERN DISTRICT OF WASHINGTONAT SEATTLEJANE DOE,Plaintiff,v.AMAZON.COM, INC., a Delawarecorporation, and IMDB.COM, INC., aDelaware corporation,Defendants.CASE NO. C11-1709MJPORDER GRANTINGDEFENDANTS’ MOTION TODISMISS PURSUANT TO RULE10(A) AND GRANTING LEAVE TOAMENDThis matter comes before the Court on Defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule10(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Dkt. No. 12.) Having considered the motion,Plaintiff’s response (Dkt. No. 25), Defendants’ reply (Dkt. No. 29), and the remaining record, theCourt GRANTS Defendants’ motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 10(a) and DISMISSESPlaintiff’s complaint. Plaintiff is given leave to amend her complaint within 14 days of the entryof this order by adding her real name.It is further ORDERED that Defendants’ pending motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule12(b)(6) (Dkt. No. 15) is stayed pending the filing of Plaintiff’s amended complaint.
Case 2:11-cv-01709-MJP Document 33 Filed 12/23/11 Page 1 of 11
 
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ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONTO DISMISS PURSUANT TO RULE 10(A) ANDGRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND- 2
Background
Plaintiff Jane Doe is a 40-year-old Asian-American actress living in Texas. (Dkt. No. 1 at4.) Seeking to launch her acting career, Plaintiff in 2003 established an online profile on theInternet Movie Database website (IMDb.com) so she could connect with casting directors andobtain acting roles. (Id. at 5.) IMDb.com is a fully owned subsidiary of Defendant Amazon.com.(Dkt. No. 12 at 2.)Plaintiff used the IMDb.com website to successfully obtain a number of acting roles, andin 2008 Plaintiff signed up for an expanded service, IMDbPro, which allows users to create anonline resume and expanded profile. (Dkt. No. 1 at 6.) In order to sign up, the IMDbPro servicerequires users to provide credit card information and other personal information, including thesubscriber’s legal name, address, and ZIP code. (Id. at 5.)Plaintiff alleges that Defendants took information obtained from her during the IMDbProsubscription process and added it to her online profile without her authorization. (Id. at 7.)Plaintiff’s true age was not among the personal information she provided during the subscription process, but she alleges that IMDb.com used the information she did provide “to scour publicrecords databases and other sources for purposes of discovering Plaintiff’s date of birth.” (Id. at9.) Plaintiff alleges that IMDb.com then posted Plaintiff’s true age on her online profile, andrefused to take it down when she asked them to. (Id. at 6.)Plaintiff alleges that revealing her true age on the IMDb website has made it nearlyimpossible for her to get acting work. (Id. at 6.) This is because, “[i]n the entertainment industry,youth is king.” (Id.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendants’ actions have caused a “double whammy.”(Id.) Because she is seen as “over the hill,” Plaintiff cannot get roles playing younger women,and because she looks so much younger than she actually is, Plaintiff “cannot physically portray
Case 2:11-cv-01709-MJP Document 33 Filed 12/23/11 Page 2 of 11
 
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ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’ MOTIONTO DISMISS PURSUANT TO RULE 10(A) ANDGRANTING LEAVE TO AMEND- 3
the role of a forty-year-old woman.” (Id.) This, she argues, has caused a substantial decrease inher earnings. (Id. at 7.)Plaintiff brings a cause of action for breach of contract, claiming that Defendants violatedIMDbPro’s subscriber agreement and the accompanying privacy policy. (Id. at 7-8.) Plaintiff also brings suit for fraud, claiming that Defendants made material misrepresentations on their website concerning their intent to protect subscribers’ personal information. (Id. at 10.) Inaddition to her common law claims, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants’ actions violated theWashington Privacy Act, RCW 9.73.030, and the Washington Consumer Protection Act, RCW19.86. (Id. at 10-12.)Plaintiff alleges that it is Defendants’ “standard business practice to routinely intercept,store, record, and further use” customers’ private information obtained during the subscription process. (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff asks the Court to issue an injunction removing Plaintiff’s personalinformation from the IMDb.com website and to enjoin Defendants from engaging in similar  practices with her or with other customers. (Id. at 12.) Plaintiff seeks $75,000 in compensatorydamages and $1 million in punitive damages. (Id.) She also seeks an award of treble damagesand an award of costs and fees. (Id.)Plaintiff brings this action as “Jane Doe” because, she argues, “[c]oming forward in her real name would impact the purpose of her lawsuit which is to seek IMDb’s compliance with itsobligation to maintain the privacy of her personal information.” (Dkt. No. 25 at 3.) Defendantscounter that allowing Plaintiff to proceed anonymously runs afoul of the public’s right of accessto judicial proceedings, and that the right to proceed anonymously is reserved for specialsituations where plaintiffs risk serious harm by suing under their real names. (Dkt. No. 12 at 6.)
Case 2:11-cv-01709-MJP Document 33 Filed 12/23/11 Page 3 of 11

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