Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Model Mayhem Sued

The owners of Internet Brands, Inc., who own and operate more than 100 websites including ModelMayhemDOTcom, are being sued by Jane Doe #14, a  model, for failing to warn its users about the potential threat posed by two guys who have since been convicted of drugging and raping models they contacted via Model Mayhem.

In her complaint, JD#14 says Model Mayhem was aware of the rape scheme, that she was drugged and raped as a result of that scheme, and that Model Mayhem users were purposely kept in the dark about the rape scheme.

Here's an article regarding the case published just yesterday on Courthouse News Service.

That there are sexual predators in the world should come as no surprise to anyone. That a few of them might be masquerading as guys with cameras seeking models to shoot should also come as no surprise.  What comes as a surprise, if it's true, is that a web site like Model Mayhem would have information regarding a sexual predator scheme, one played out by at least two of its users, and do little to nothing about it. Most importantly, by warning its model members of the potential threats to their safety regarding those two scumbags.

The pretty girl linebacker at the top is Mika from a shoot this past Sunday. (Click to enlarge.) If I was paying better attention to details rather than other stuff, I probably would have had Mika remove the necklace. Removing it via Photoshop, of course, is an easy fix.


Von R Buzard said...

Jezzus! as a photographer I myself have used MM from time to time but had no idea that this had been going on.

Stephen said...

" She seeks more than $10 million in damages, medical expenses and lost earnings. She is represented by Kevin McGuire, of Temecula"

What does she expect MM to do? Send an escort to every shoot booked (even though they have no idea that a shoot gets booked). This same thing could happen with any site where you actually meet other members in person (IE meetup, dating sites, and such).

I also don't think she has a case. From MM's Terms of Use which she had to agree to use the site.

"No advice or information, whether oral or written, obtained by you from the Model Mayhem Services shall create any warranty not expressly stated in these Terms of Use. In no event shall Model Mayhem or its owner, or affiliates, be liable to you or any third party for any indirect, consequential, exemplary, incidental, special or punitive damages, including lost profit damages, loss of or damage to reputation or loss of information, arising from your use of the Model Mayhem Services even if we have been advised of the possibility of such damages.

Some jurisdictions do not allow the disclaimer, exclusion or limitation of incidental or consequential damages, so the foregoing disclaimer, exclusion and limitation may not apply to you, and you may have other legal rights that vary according to jurisdiction. In no event will damages provided by law, if any, apply unless they are required to apply by law, notwithstanding their exclusion by contract.

We disclaim all liability for any loss or damage arising out of your communications or dealings with any of the businesses, advertisers, Model Mayhem members or users of the Model Mayhem Services. Your communications or dealings with such businesses, advertisers, members and users are solely between you and them, although we reserve the right to monitor disputes between you and them.

Our maximum aggregate liability to you for any causes whatsoever, and regardless of the form of action, shall at all times be limited to the greater of (A) the amount paid, if any, by you to us in connection with the Model Mayhem Services in the 12 months prior to the action giving rise to the liability, or (B) US$100.00. You and Model Mayhem agree that any cause of action arising out of or related to the Model Mayhem Services must commence within one (1) year after the cause of action accrues, otherwise, such cause of action is permanently barred."

So the way I read this is even if they find MM guilty they are only liable for $100.

While it is a tragedy what happened to her I don't think MM is at fault here. If it were only those two they could do something about it, but it's not. Should they do extensive background checks on every member.

I do know one thing. If she wins MM will be shut down and probably OMP too.

jimmyd said...

@Stephen: Well, I'm certainly no lawyer. But one of my best friends is. And I clearly remember, many years ago, him telling me, "You know those parking lot tickets they give you? The ones that say they're not liable for any damages or anything stolen from your vehicle while it's parked in their lot? Total crock of shit. They get made liable every day."

I also remember him on the phone telling some representative at some company, "When your terms and conditions are codified into California law, I'll give them some credence. Until then, I could care less what your terms and conditions say."

Like I said, I'm no lawyer. But I don't think any lawyer is going to give a rat's ass about MM's Terms of Service in a case like this. Just saying. :-)

Stephen said...

If that's the case we all lose.