Match.com Must Face Claim by Assaulted User

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By Perry Cooper

Sept. 8 — Match.com must face a user’s allegations that it failed to warn her that her attacker had attacked other women he met on the dating site, the Ninth Circuit ruled ( Beckman v. Match.com LLC , 2016 BL 286535, 9th Cir., No. 13-16324, unpublished 9/1/16 ).

Mary Kay Beckman met Wade Mitchell Ridley on Match.com. After Beckman ended the relationship, Ridley sent her harassing text messages and brutally attacked her at home.

Beckman sued Match.com seeking nearly $10 million for negligence, emotional distress and failure to warn. The district court dismissed all of Beckman’s claims.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit revived Beckman’s failure to warn claim in an unpublished Sept. 1 opinion.

Under Nevada law, a defendant has a duty to warn known, foreseeable victims of known, foreseeable harms when it has actual knowledge of such a harm, the court said.

Beckman’s counsel said at oral argument that Match.com had actual knowledge that Ridley had identified and attacked other women on Match before he attacked Beckman, it said.

A Match spokesman said the company was pleased the appeals court affirmed the dismissal of the other claims in the suit.

The company also is “confident that the case will end in a complete dismissal,” spokesman Nate Nesbitt said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg BNA Sept. 8.

Judges Richard A. Paez, Mary Helen Murguia and Andrew D. Hurwitz served on the panel.

Saggese & Associates Ltd. represented Beckman.

Marquis & Aurbach represented Match.com.

To contact the reporter on this story: Perry Cooper in Washington at pcooper@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Patrick at spatrick@bna.com

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