It’s been some time since we have had an update on the lawsuit filed by actress Huang “Junie” Hoang against IMDb for posting her actual date of birth on the internet’s most popular movie website. Major parts of Hoang’s case were dismissed back in April, including Hoang’s charges of fraud and that Amazon.com (which is the owner of IMDb), her claim that IMDb violated the Washington Privacy Act, and, most significantly, Hoang’s asking of $1 million in damages for lost work because of her age (the judge pointed out Hoang would have to produce witnesses to testify that they did not hire her specifically because of IMDb’s revelation of her actual age, something that was very unlikely to happen). Nonetheless, Hoang’s claim that Amazon gleaned her true age from her private credit card information remained in the case.
But new developments might change all that. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hoang’s original lawyer, John Dozier, passed away unexpectedly in August and her new lawyers, led by Keith Scully of the firm Newman Du Wors, have decided to take a different approach to the suit by broadening it, focusing on how the age information revealed on IMDb hurts the industry as a whole and continuing to question whether or not IMDb’s staff commits any wrongdoing while probing for private information for its listings. This would include calling industry professionals to the stand as witnesses to talk about ageism in the industry, with Gil Junger (director of 10 Things I Hate About You and dozens of television episodes) reportedly already agreeing to take the stand.
Furthermore, Hoang’s new lawyers are asking for more time to prepare for the case, claiming Dozier was ill and made poor decisions with her case. This is something which Breena Roos, the lawyer representing IMDb, points out isn’t her client’s fault. She says, “Put bluntly, IMDb asks this Court to find that it is simply tough luck for Hoang that her attorney was terminally ill and unable to make viable decisions. Fortunately for fundamental fairness in our judicial system, that is not the law.”
It’s up to the judge on whether or not more time will be granted to the prosecution, but ultimately the question at the center of the lawsuit remains how IMDb gathers its info on Hoang and others. Complicating matters is the fact that info on IMDb isn’t just updated by Amazon’s staff but also by users, which means potentially anybody could have initially posted Hoang’s birth date. Regardless, a judge’s decision on the matter is expected shortly.