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Jury Decides Against Actor in IMDb Suit

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Jury Decides Against Actor in IMDb Suit

A jury has decided against actor Huong Hoang in her suit against IMDb.

Since 2011, Hoang, whose stage name is Junie Hoang, has been suing IMDb and its parent company Amazon in federal court for what she says was improperly revealing her age in her online profile. 

The civil trial started in federal court in Seattle April 8. On Wednesday, the jury heard closing arguments and received their final instructions from judge Marsha Pechman. They rendered a verdict in favor of IMDb on Thursday, deciding that the website didn't violate its legal obligations to the 41-year-old actor.

During the trial, her legal team argued that Hoang, who took the stand, had lost work as a result of her birthdate’s publication. But IMDb contended that Hoang originally published an incorrect birth date on its website, and then later demanded that IMDb review its files to determine whether the incorrect birth date was valid. During its review, which included a public records search, the company found the published birthday was incorrect and published her correct birthday.

Amazon has not yet requested that Hoang pay its legal costs but the company could do so, a clerk for Pechman told Backstage. Before the trial started Derek Alan Newman, an attorney with the firm Newman Du Wors LLP, which represents Hoang, indicated she would appeal if she lost.

The case has taken several twists and turns. Hoang's first attorney died before the case got underway.

The actor, who has some 100 feature and TV credits including “Gingerdead Man 3: Saturday Night Cleaver” and “Hoodrats 2: Hoodrat Warriors," initially pursued the case as Jane Doe but revealed her identity in a January court filing.

The case has raised questions about the importance of youth in the entertainment industry. But Pechman, who presided over the civil trial, barred the plaintiff’s side from making broad claims about ageism in Hollywood.

A spokeswoman for IMDb did not immediately respond to a request for comment and messages left for Newman were not immediately returned.

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