TORONTO – The legal battle between a Canadian dating site for married people seeking affairs and a former employee who claimed she was injured typing up fake profiles of women has come to an end.
A lawsuit and countersuit between the Toronto-based Ashley Madison website and Doriana Silva have been dismissed without costs by the Ontario Superior Court.
The parties agreed to the move after the court threatened to dismiss the suits with costs, noting the cases still hadn’t been placed on a trial list more than two years after the initial lawsuit was filed.
Avi Weisman, vice-president and general counsel for Ashley Madison’s parent company Avid Life Media, says the company is “very pleased with the outcome.”
The dispute began when Silva – who came to Toronto from Brazil – sued her former employer in 2012, alleging she seriously hurt her wrists and forearms typing up 1,000 “fake female profiles” over a few weeks for a new Portuguese-language version of the site.
In her claim, Silva said the profiles were meant to lure unsuspecting men to join the site.
She sought $20 million for what she called the company’s “unjust enrichment” at her expense.
Ashley Madison denied the allegations and slapped her with a countersuit, claiming she kept confidential documents, including copies of her “work product and training materials.”
The countersuit sought to retrieve the documents and obtain $100,000 in damages plus legal costs.
The company also argued that the nature of what Silva typed was irrelevant and simply thrown in to tarnish the company’s reputation.
It asked the court to remove any reference to “unethical practices” from Silva’s claim, but a judge found the mentions provided important context about what caused the alleged injuries.
Silva claimed she was led to believe fake profiles were common in the online dating industry and said she would have refused the work had she known that was not the case.
She also said she alerted her superiors that she had sustained workplace injuries but her complaints were ignored.
In its statement of defence, Ashley Madison said Silva only mentioned her alleged injuries after her probation period was over, and then was allowed to take several months off for treatment while the company held her job.
But Silva continued to delay her return and eventually filed the suit after her demands for a “large lump sum” went unmet, the company alleged.
The company claimed that Silva has since led an active life with a strong online presence, which it said would not be possible if she were, in fact, seriously injured.
It referenced posts on Silva’s Facebook account, which she later shut down, prompting the company to accuse her of deleting potential evidence.