The plaintiff, Carole Markin, alleged that could have prevented the attack by checking prospective members against sex offender registries.
Prior to August, Match.com—like most online dating services—did not conduct background checks on its members. Markin agreed to drop her suit in late August after announced it would weed out registered sex offenders using federal, state and local databases. Webb said he and his client were satisfied with Match.com's decision to conduct the background checks—which the company has insisted was not part of a settlement agreement, but rather a voluntary act—legal experts say the website likely exposed itself unnecessarily to potential liability.
Markin's.“Once the door is opened, it's going to be very difficult for them down the line to argue that they don't have a duty to screen for other issues,” said Bradley S. Shear said.“It's the kind of thing that sounds like a good idea at the start, but once you get the lawyers involved and start to parse through all the different potential liability scenarios, it's pretty scary,” Mr. For its part, has insisted that conducting the screening is by no means a promise of safety or a database free of sex offenders.
Shear, Bethesda, Md.-based managing partner of the Law Office of Bradley S. In an email, the company said it does not foresee having to expand its restrictions to include other kinds of criminals.“continues to stress that while these checks may help in certain instances, it is important that this effort does not provide a false sense of security to our members,” the company said in the email.
Erik Syverson, a managing partner at Los Angeles-based Miller Barondess L. P., said Match.com's decision to offer screening was perplexing from a legal standpoint and likely was made “to counteract whatever they've received as a result of this lawsuit.”“Otherwise, it makes zero sense to me from every single angle,” said Mr.
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“With millions of members, and thousands of first dates a week, Match.com, like any other large community, cannot guarantee and is not responsible for the actions of its members.”Aside from the potential expansion of its exposure to its members' expectations of security, experts also wondered what effect Match.com's decision to screen for sex offenders would have on competitors. Webb said he expects at least some online dating sites will consider implementing their own system of background checks, which he said likely would make online dating sites safer for their members. in Chicago, said might have given itself a perceived competitive advantage over its rivals by offering to screen for sex offenders.
Lori Nugent, a partner at Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker L. However, she said, other companies should carefully evaluate their own services and risk profiles before making any changes.“Those are business decisions that need to be made based on the type of service that they intend to provide,” Ms.
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