Actress Sues Amazon For Disclosing Her Real Asian Name and Age

There is an interesting privacy case out of New York where an actress was forced to reveal her identity as the plaintiff in a lawsuit against Amazon’s website IMDb. Huong Hoang, 40, tried to file anonymously after accusing Amazon of harming her by disclosing her Asian name and age. The federal judge however gave her two weeks to put her name on the lawsuit or face dismissal.

Hoang alleges that IMDb harmed her by publishing her real age when she has played younger women in what is described as “B-list” movies like “Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver” and “Hoodrats 2: Hoodrat Warriors.” She used her stage name of Junie Hoang to, according to her complaint, avoid the potential “cultural disadvantage” of her ethnic name. Her privacy lawsuit alleges that she was unaware of the extent to which her private information would be farmed by Amazon by obtaining her credit care. See the complaint below.

There certainly appears a credible complaint over the access to private information, but the injury could prove difficult when it is likely that her age and ethnic background would become known to employers in the course of her work. She is seeking $1 million.

She is proceeding under a variety of claims:

Count One: Breach of Contract
Count Two: Fraud
Count Three:Washington’s Privacy Act
Count Four: Washington’s Consumer Protection Act

The privacy claim is not therefore an intrusion upon seclusion claim. As a statutory claim, it is the act of interception or obtaining private information that is the crux of the action. Yet, she is seeking $1 million in punitive damages which is not likely to be viewed as credible to the court. What is interesting is that she is seeking only $75,000 in compensatory damages. Yet, the Supreme Court has struck down punitive awards that exceed a 10 to 1 ratio of punitive to compensatory damages. While once treated as the domain of state law and federalism, the Supreme Court has handed down a series of decisions striking down punitive damage awards based on the due process clause. In a case with similarly great ratio in Gore v. BMW, for example, the Supreme Court struck down an award to Dr. Ira Gore after he found that his new BMW had been repainted at that dealership without informing him. An Alabama jury awarded $4,000 in compensatory damages and $4 million in punitive damages. The amount was later reduced to $2 million by the Alabama Supreme Court but then struck down by the Supreme Court.

Putting aside the ratio problem, this could come down to a factual disagreement and any dismissal motion would require such facts to be read in her favor. She may be entitled to put on experts to show, as she alleges, that “[l]esser-known 40-year-old actresses are not in demand in the movie business.”

Here is the lawsuit: HoangvAmazon

Source: New York Daily News as first seen on ABA Journal

14 thoughts on “Actress Sues Amazon For Disclosing Her Real Asian Name and Age”

  1. @5thGradeChief

    I’m pretty sorry to hear about your principal. But I was pleased to see you integrate elements of your own life as a 5th grader into our contemporary political discourse.

    A couple of things. Amazon will be POTUS one day. And Willard Milton Mitt Romney will be compelled to release his long form birth certificate. If he does not there will serious and plausible allegations of bias.

  2. Anyone who has attempted to -gasp- leave a review on the evil IMDB knows what an insane site it is.

    Rich- Porn is not illegal…yet. If I fail at law, I have every intention of becoming a porn director, or a sushi chef. Or direct a porno about a sushi chef…..the possibilities are endless.

    Rcampbell- the same thought struck me…from Huong Hoang to Junie Hoang
    still sounds pretty Asian to me.

  3. Gene H.,

    Oh ye of little faith … let’s do lunch, I’ll pay after I’m hired.

  4. Although I have every confidence in our beloved mespo, I’m going to have to echo raff in saying that this is a case where proving damages is going to be difficult in the extreme if not impossible.

  5. “She used her stage name of Junie Hoang to, according to her complaint, avoid the potential “cultural disadvantage” of her ethnic name.”

    Yeah, she sure solved the “cultural disadvantage of her ethnic name” issue (whatever that means) by continuing to the name Hoang and adding Jo. No one could ever figure out she’s Asian with that clever ploy.

  6. Blouise

    “She needs mespo”

    I had to go to google to find the meaning of this legal term. Thanks. The article was before I started coming here.

  7. We are just a group of 5th Graders and not lawyers, but he author of the post has some clout with the legal world and might perhaps advise the plaintiff to cite Roe v. Wade to the court on the issue of using her real name. Roe, doe, schmoe, judge. Moe, Larry, Cheese. (Three Stooges for the uninitiated) As to the claim for $75,000.00. The statutory minimum for federal jurisdictions is how much? Perhaps that is why the figure of $75K was pleaded. The issue of credibility of the request for punitive damages is one relegated to the jury. She could request one dollar in the complaint and later amend for a million and ask the jury for that amount at trial, to punish the wrongdoer. The analysis of whether punitives are excessive comes after the process is over, not now when the pleadings are launched. We also pose the question: How old is Albert Puhols? Do not some of these baseball players fib about their age so that they can demand more money on the long term contract? We have some Birthers in our group who want to know such things. Like the real name of Willard Milton Romney. Could the Mittster sue Amazon for revealing that which is on his birth certificate to the public hungry for such facts? Then there is Newton McPherson. Anyone out there know to whom it is that we speak? We found it on wikipedia. We in the Cult of the 5thGrade prefer to remain anonymous. If Amazon got ahold of our names we’d be in the Principal’s office. And at our school the principal ain’t no pal.

  8. I will echo Blouise’s statement. I understand the concept, but I think she will have a hard time proving her damages.

  9. Our nation has a genetic predisposition to falsehood, as a matter of law.

    Evidently she has been here long enough to now have an aversion to the facts about her being known.

    What next, a lawsuit over a revelation that she once walked across the bathroom floor, with her knickers in a bunch around her ankles, to get a new roll of toilet paper, after discovering the roll at hand was empty?

    I mean that is so common it could lead to lawsuits for revealing the identity of handles on the intertubes for heaven sake.

  10. It’s not like she does porn or anything else where this info could be used for arrest. It seems like she’s mostly a candidate for being the next Charlotte Rampling.

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