Thursday, March 30, 2006

Attorney Files Lawsuit Against Internet Dating Website

Being an attorney and having my own practice is very rewarding. I also know enough about the reputation of my profession to not take myself too seriously. Every once in a while, I will come across a story about another attorney that makes me scrach my head and say "Huh?".

I read a story this morning about an attorney from Northern California that is suing the Internet dating website eHarmony for discrimination. It turns out that attorney John Claassen of Emeryville, CA is still married. Although he is separated and his divorce will be final in two months. Mr. Claassen believes that eHarmony should allow him to use its dating service now. Mr. Claassen filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court requesting $12,000 in damages.

While I fully support California laws that prohibit businesses from engaging in arbitrary discrimination, this lawsuit patently absurd. According to a company spokesperson, surveys of eHarmony customers reveal that the vast majority of them prefer their matches to be divorced, widowed or never married at all. Instead of waiting for his divorce to be finalized or using another Internet dating service, Mr. Claassen chose to file a lawsuit. This course of action seems more like publicity stunt not unlike the San Francisco attorney who filed a lawsuit in 2003 to ban Oreo cookies.

According to the California State Bar, Mr. Claassen has only been in practice since May 2001. I just hope he reconsiders his course of action before doing too much more damage to his professional reputation.

About the Author
Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar and the San Diego County Bar Association. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.

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