Actress Seeks New Trial Against Amazon

Actress Junie Hoang, who unsuccessfully sued Amazon's for revealing her true age, is asking a federal appellate court for a new trial.

Hoang says that her first trial wasn't fair, largely because her original attorney, John Dozier, suffered from a serious, ultimately fatal illness, and wasn't able to prepare for the case. Her subsequent attorney was then forced to go to trial without enough information, as well as the opportunity to present expert witnesses, she argues in papers filed this week with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Hoang's lawsuit centers on allegations that the company violated its privacy policy by revealing that she was born in 1971.

“In an industry in which perfecting the illusion of one’s stage persona and maintaining control of one’s image are essential to success, actors’ inability to control the information IMDb provides to their potential employers on what has become their de facto resume can hurt their ability to manage their careers,” she argues in her appellate papers.

Hoang first created an profile nine years ago, at which time she said she was born in 1978. She says in her appellate brief that she chose that date “because she knew it was an age she could portray, she wanted to prevent anyone else from posting an incorrect older age on her profile, and she wanted to avoid publishing biographical information on the Internet that could facilitate identity theft.”

Hoang subsequently decided that her profile shouldn't include any year of birth and asked to remove the date.

The company refused to do so without proof that the 1978 date was incorrect. After Hoang continued to ask to remove the date, a company employee investigated further and allegedly accessed the credit card data that Hoang submitted when registering for a premium profile on the site. (Hoang used a stage name on her profile, but her real name on the credit card.) After determined Hoang's real name, the company scoured public records and discovering her date of birth, which it appended to her profile.

Hoang said in her lawsuit that violated its privacy policy by allegedly accessing her credit card data -- which was supposed to remain confidential. countered that its privacy policy allowed it to draw on information submitted by users in order to respond to requests. It came out at trial that Hoang at one point submitted false documents to, in an attempt to convince the site to delete her age.

The jury ruled against Hoang after a trial in April. She now argues in her appeal that her original attorney's illness prevented her from presenting witnesses who would have testified about the importance of age in Hollywood -- which would have explained why she “was so desperate that she resorted to extremes to try to manipulate IMDb into removing her birth date.”

Dozier's “desire to cling to his practice despite his fatal illnesses led him to virtually abandon prosecution of Hoang’s case while ignoring her specific orders,” she argues. Among other problems, Dozier didn't find expert witnesses who could have testified about Hollywood casting practices, and agreed to exclude testimony by the Screen Actors Guild's general counsel -- who was expected to testify that “IMDb's posting of actors’ ages without their consent damages their careers.”

Amazon is expected to respond to Hoang's argument by the end of this month.
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