A Maryland man is suing the operators of a popular affair website, alleging it deceptively and fraudulently misrepresents its user makeup.
Christopher Russell, individually and for all others similarly situated, filed a class action lawsuit Sept. 11 in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland against Avid Life Media Inc. and Avid Dating Life Inc., doing business as Ashley Madison, alleging violations of Maryland's Consumer Protection Act, unjust enrichment, deceptive representations and fraud.
According to the complaint, in July, hackers calling themselves the "Impact Team" released personal information, internal documents and communications of nearly all AshleyMadison.com users, revealing that at least 90 percent of the site's female profiles were fake and were meant to induce male clients into believing there were many more female users on the site than there were in actuality.
The suit says AshleyMadison.com agents coded more than 70,000 fake female robot profiles to interact with male customers, sending men millions of messages, many of which asked for money. The site requires users to pay "credits" to interact with other users.
The complaint alleges Russell, who was separated from his wife when he joined AshleyMadison.com, and others in the class, relied on the defendants' representations as a discreet dating site for human users. Russell spent approximately $100 on site credits, the suit says.
Russell and others in the class seek compensatory and punitive damages, plus attorney fees and court costs. He is represented by attorneys Gary E. Mason and Esfand Y. Nafisi of Whitfield Bryson Mason in Washington, Charles LaDuca and Brendan Thompson of Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca in Bethesda, Md., and Michael L. Braunstein of The Braunstein Law Firm in New City, N.Y.
U.S. District Court for the Maryland District Court case number 8:15-cv-02693-PWG.