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Match.com Lawsuit Update: Judge Says Woman Can’t Sue Over Match.com Safety

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from www.onpointnews.com – A Los Angeles federal judge has ruled that an alleged rape victim does not have standing to sue Match.com, effectively ending her bid to shut down the online dating service until it screens users for sex offenders.

Match.com announced a screening plan in April — just days after Hollywood executive Carole Markin filed her lawsuit seeking injunctive relief for herself and other women who have been Match.com members since August 2010.

U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson’s ruling means Match.com can continue operating while it prepares to check subscribers against the National Sex Offender Registry. Markin, who claims she was raped by a man whom she met through Match.com, argued that the plan was “deficient” and would take too long to implement.

Markin’s own statements “suggest that she does not intend to use Defendant’s services for future dates” and she cannot represent a class of other Match.com subscribers when her own claim “relies upon a chain of speculative contingencies,” Wilson said in finding she did not have standing.

He did not dismiss the proposed class action, remanding it back to state court. But a Match.com attorney told On Point that the case is effectively over since Markin would not have standing to sue in state court either.

After Markin’s date, Alan Paul Wurtzel, allegedly attacked her, she went online and learned he had six convictions for sexual battery. She sued Match.com April 11 under a California law that prohibits deceptive business practices.

Match.com said it would need 60 to 90 days to implement its screening plan. That didn’t satisfy Markin — the self-described “Erin Brockovich of online dating” — who argued in a brief that Match.com should be ordered to use “effective and prompt screening techniques,” with searches of county criminal records supplementing screening against the national registry.

“Match.com cannot explain why even one woman should have to suffer the risk of going on a date with a man who might be a convicted sex offender screenable through use of appropriate methods,” she said in her motion for a preliminary injunction against Match.com.

So far, no states have passed a law mandating screening by online dating services. And Match.com argued that it was under no legal duty to “conduct any screening.”

Markin cancelled her Match.com subscription after the alleged assault but revived it so she could file her suit. “Plaintiff’s statements suggest that she does not intend to use Defendant’s services for future dates, diminishing the possibility that she could suffer any injury caused by Defendant’s failure to screen for sexual offenders,” Wilson said.

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