Sometimes you can tell it to the judge and get a sympathetic hearing, but not always. "Anybody who thinks the guy on the other side is really that person is an idiot," said Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Andrew D. Hurwitz in a case brought by a woman who was attacked by a Match.com date.
Mary Kay Beckman said she was attacked by Wade Ridley, a man she met through Match.com and who, not coincidentally, had a lengthy criminal record. He was later convicted of killing an ex-girlfriend in Phoenix and died in prison while serving a decades-long sentence.
Beckman, who was beaten and left for dead by Ridley after she tried to break off her relationship with him, said Match.com knew of his criminal record and should not have brought the two together, but Judge Hurwitz was not having it.
"Everybody lies on this thing," Hurwitz said, according to Courthouse News Service, saying that Beckman had not shown that Match.com knew of Ridley's history.
"We would allege that in fact they had prior warning from other users and failed to act," Beckman's lawyer Marc Saggese told a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court Tuesday.
Insisting that Match.com had a duty to report users' criminal histories, Saggese argued that the website is not simply an unregulated forum where "everyone just throws their posting up on a wall and sees what sticks."
Judge Richard Paez was more sympathetic but still doubtful, saying that Communications Decence Act provides "a form of immunity, basically." The CDA says providers of "interactive computer services" such as dating sites, cannot be held liable for information posted by third parties, in this case, people who submit dating profiles.
Beckman's lawyer, Saggese, said the case goes beyond that. He argued that matching one person with another amounts to more than just posting data submitted by users.