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Ashley Madison Lawsuit: Woman Damaged Wrists Writing ‘Fake Female Profiles’
By Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
TORONTO – A dating website is being sued by a former employee who says she damaged her wrists typing up hundreds of fake profiles of sexy women.
Doriana Silva is seeking $20 million from Ashley Madison for what she calls the company’s “unjust enrichment” at her expense, plus another $1 million in punitive and general damages.
In her statement of claim, Silva — a Brazilian immigrant living in Toronto — says she was hired to help launch a Portuguese-language version of the site and promised a starting salary of $34,000 plus benefits.
The allegations have not been proven in court and Ashley Madison has yet to file a statement of defence.
The company, which describes itself as a dating service for married people, did not respond to requests for comment.
In her claim, Silva says she didn’t question her assignment, and no one at the company suggested there was anything “unlawful or improper” about the alleged phoney profiles.
In fact, she was led to believe “that doing so was some sort of a normal business practice in the industry,” it says.
Had she been aware of the “ethical and legal issues arising in relation to online fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.,” Silva would have turned down the work, she alleges in the document.
Creating the profiles “required an enormous amount of keyboarding” and Silva developed severe pain in her wrists and forearms, the claim says.
She alleges company brass ignored her complaints and her request for a wrist rest.
The pain soon made it impossible for Silva to do her job and she has been unable to work since 2011, the document reads, adding she “remains seriously disabled in many if not all aspects of her life.”
In her claim, Silva says the company has refused to grant her workers’ compensation or insurance despite an earlier agreement she would be covered, and the costs of physiotherapy and other treatments are adding up.
“Doriana’s injuries are permanent and her prognosis is uncertain,” the document says.
The suit was filed last year but stalled while the company petitioned the court to strike references to “ethics” and “unethical practices” from the statement of claim.
But a Superior Court judge found the references necessary to describe “the factual context in which the injuries were sustained,” a decision that was upheld on appeal this month.
Silva’s lawyer, Paul Dollak, said while compensation for personal injuries is usually calculated based on how much that person has suffered, his client is instead seeking a share of the money earned through the profiles she created.
On its website, Ashley Madison says it does not pre-screen members and can’t “guarantee the authenticity of any profile,” warning that “anyone who is able to commit identity theftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources. can also falsify a dating profile.”