Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc.

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Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al.
United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
Full case name Huong Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. and IMDb.com, Inc.,
Date decided April 11, 2013
Citations no. 11-cv-01709, (W.D. Wash., filed Oct. 13, 2011)
no. 13-35390, (9th Cir., filed May 6, 2013)
Judge sitting Marsha J. Pechman
Case holding
Jury verdict; IMDb did not breach its contract with plaintiff by publishing her true date of birth
internet privacy, breach of contract

Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al. (initially filed as Doe v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al.) is a lawsuit brought by actress Junie Hoang in October 2011 against IMDb.com and its parent company Amazon.com for revealing her true date of birth, which she said opened her up to age discrimination. In March 2013, all of her claims against Amazon and all but one of her claims against IMDb were dismissed, and in April 2013, a jury found that IMDb was not liable for the remaining claim for breach of contract. As of December 2014, the case is under appeal with respect to IMDb; Amazon has been dropped from the suit.


Hoang, whose real name is Huong Hoang (Vietnamese Hoàng Hương), is a Vietnamese-American actress.[1] She had small parts in films such as Lap Dance, Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver, Hoodrats 2: Hoodrat Warriors, and My Big Phat Hip Hop Family, as well as guest roles on television series such as I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.[2]

In October 2011 Hoang filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and its parent company Amazon.com,[3] alleging that IMDb had accessed her account information to obtain her true birth date (July 16, 1971), then displayed it as part of the information on her entry as an actress. Her complaint alleged that the use of her account information was wrongful and that publication of the information would cause her to suffer age discrimination in casting.[4]

Hoang's lawsuit was originally filed under the name "Jane Doe", but in December 2011, U.S. District Judge Marsha J. Pechman in Seattle dismissed the original lawsuit with leave to refile under her own name, saying the actress had no grounds to proceed with an anonymous complaint.[3][4] On January 6, 2012, Hoang refiled, revealing her name.[3][4]

In March 2013, Judge Pechman granted Amazon's motion for summary judgment, releasing it from the case; and IMDb's motion for summary judgment on Hoang's Washington state's Consumer Protection Act claim and emotional distress claims.[5][6] The case went to trial on April 9, 2013 on the remaining cause of action, IMDb's alleged breach of contract, with IMDb as the sole defendant.[5] On April 11, 2013, a federal jury in Seattle rejected the breach of contract claim.[7][8]


In May 2013, Hoang filed a notice of appeal in the case.[9][10] As of December 2014, the case is pending with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.[11] Hoang's opening brief was filed on October 30, and IMDb's answering brief was filed December 24;[11] Hoang voluntarily dismissed Amazon.com from the appeal on November 4.[12] Hoang's reply brief was filed February 3, 2014.[13]

Two amicus curiae briefs were filed in support of Hoang; one by four screenwriters David Ransil, Brad Markowitz, Steven Tag Mendillo and Mark Lisson on November 20; and one by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) and the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) on November 25.[11]

The case is set for oral argument in Seattle on February 6, 2015.[14]


Two actors' unions, SAG and AFTRA, said the site was "facilitating age discrimination".[15]


  1. ^ Kenneally, Tim; Chelin, Pamela (January 6, 2012). "IMDB "Jane Doe" plaintiff reveals her real name". Reuters. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Amazon Age Lawsuit Actress Identifies Herself". Sky News. January 7, 2012. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al., no. 11-cv-01709, (W.D. Wash., filed Oct. 13, 2011); retrieved from PACER, Apr. 12, 2013
  4. ^ a b c Johnson, Gene (2012-01-06). "Actress who sued Amazon over age IDs herself". Associated Press. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Kennally, Tim (March 20, 2013). "Actress Junie Hoang suing IMDb.com for revealing her age". Toronto Sun. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  6. ^ Ciepley, Michael (March 20, 2013). "Actress’s Suit Against IMDb for Publishing Her Actual Age Can Go to Trial". New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 
  7. ^ Johnson, Gene. "Wash. jury rejects claim of actress who sued IMDb". Associated Press. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Actress age claim against IMDb rejected". BBC News. April 12, 2013. Retrieved 12 April 2013. 
  9. ^ Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al no. 11-cv-01709, W.D. Wash., Notice of Appeal (May 5, 2013), retrieved from PACER, August 8, 2013.
  10. ^ Kenneally, Tim (May 8, 2013). "'Jane Doe' actress appeals IMDb verdict". Global Post. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved August 8, 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al, no. 13-35390, 9th Cir., docket report, retrieved from PACER, August 25, 2014.
  12. ^ Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al, no. 13-35390, 9th Cir., order (November 4, 2013), retrieved from PACER, December 30, 2013.
  13. ^ Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al, no. 13-35390, 9th Cir., clerk order (February 4, 2014), retrieved from PACER, April 14, 2014.
  14. ^ "Calendar for Seattle, Washington". United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Retrieved November 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Acting unions criticise IMDb in age row". BBC News. October 28, 2011. Retrieved March 21, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Court filings and rulings
  • Doe v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al., original complaint (October 13, 2011)
  • Doe v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al., order dismissing original complaint (December 23, 2011)
  • Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al., first amended complaint (January 6, 2012)
  • Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al., order dismissing some claims (March 28, 2012), via Santa Clara University School of Law's Digital Commons
  • Hoang v. Amazon.com, Inc. et al., order dismissing all remaining claims except the breach-of-contract claim against IMDb (March 18, 2013)