Farmington Hills, Michigan

HomeMichiganFarmington Hills

Email Mark Bello Mark Bello on LinkedIn Mark Bello on Twitter Mark Bello on Facebook Mark Bello on Avvo
Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Woman Settles Lawsuit with Online Dating Service


A recent lawsuit has led an online dating service to conduct background checks on members to screen out known sex offenders. A woman sued Match.com after being sexually assaulted by a man she met on the dating website; she believes security screening could have prevented her attack.

The woman met her attacker through Match.com, communicating with him online and over the phone before meeting him in person. Their first date went well, but the man sexually assaulted her on a second date. After learning her attacker had been previously convicted on six sexual misdemeanors charges, she filed a lawsuit against Match.com.

No monetary compensation was sought in the lawsuit; the woman was only seeking a court order requiring the online site to check its members’ backgrounds to weed out convicted sex offenders. When it was evident that Match.com finally began screening its members against state and federal sex-offender databases, the woman dropped the lawsuit and agreed to forgo any future claims against Match.com. “I went into this lawsuit to protect other people, and it worked. “If I save one woman from getting attacked, then I’m happy," she said.

Currently, there are no laws holding online dating services liable for financial or physical harm experienced by members; it may only be a matter of time before courts recognize a need for some responsibility to protect users. Fortunately, this case appears to have started a positive “domino effect”. eHarmony and Zoosk, two other online dating services, also confirmed they were checking members against criminal databases to enhance security for their members.

In most lawsuits, money is merely an instrument; justice is the real issue. Because no money exchanged hands – the victim received zero dollars – it would not be beyond the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, corporate interests, or insurance companies to deem a case such as this “frivolous”. Should Match.com have been forced to spend money on defending a case that sought no financial remuneration? Remember, the lawsuit was not filed for, or about money; the woman only wanted to protect other woman who use online dating services. This case speaks loudly for justice. Although there was no compensation, the lawsuit has brought about change; making a significant difference in the safety of online dating services members. Our civil justice system is the victims’ means to secure justice, and justice was served in this case. A lawsuit seeking zero dollars in compensation created public notice of a serious problem and a powerful incentive for online data services to enact the security measures necessary to prevent future victimizations. Not so frivolous is it?

Congratulations to this victim on her victory and fight for change.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.


Have an opinion about this post? Please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

  1. Ken Granderson says:
    up arrow

    So will bars and other venues people use to meet be required to conduct background checks one day?

  2. Mark Bello says:
    up arrow

    Ken: Hopefully, you mean that ‘tongue in cheek’. “Bars and other venues” are not in the “matchmaking” business. This is about people who are in the business of putting one person together with another and profiting from it. The least these companies can do is try to make sure that they are linking people as safely as possible.