A Las Vegas woman Mary Kay Beckman is suing the online dating service Match.com after a man she met on the site attacked and nearly killed her. Beckman is seeking $10 million from the company for failing to disclose dangers of online dating.
The Daily Mail reports Beckman filed a lawsuit against Match.com on Friday, seeking $10 million in damages and alleging that the company does not observe reasonable precautions for the safety of users of its website. According to Time, she is seeking $346,000 in economic damages, $5.4 million in non-economic damages, and $4.1 million in punitive damages.
ABC News reports Beckman, 50, said in her complaint that Match.com misled her into thinking that she would find a "stable and loving relationship with another member." Instead, she was paired with a man "whose intentions are not to find a mate, but to find victims to kill or rape."
Beckman said Match.com paired her with Wade Mitchell Ridley, 53. She said she knew him for only 10 days and dated him for eight days before she realized he was not the right match. She then broke up the relationship in September 2010.
But four months later, Ridley broke into her garage. She said she returned home one evening and found Ridley hiding in her garage armed with a knife.
ABC News reports court documents say Ridley "brutally stabbed [Beckman] 10 times with a knife about her head, face and upper body, until the overwhelming force he applied to the stabbing caused the knife to break." He then "stomped and kicked" her in the head and left her for dead.
A neighbor found Beckman. She was taken to the hospital where she underwent a series of surgeries to repair her broken jaw, preserve her eyesight, and surgeries to parts of her skull replaced with synthetic components at a total cost of more than $400,000.
CBS News reports she recalls: "There were 10 stab wounds, eight on my physical body, two on my head, and when the knife broke, there was stomping on my head. I shouldn't even be here today."
While Beckman was in the hospital, Ridley was arrested for the murder of another woman, an Arizona woman he also met on Match.com after the attack on Beckman. The Daily Mail reports police said he confessed under interrogation that he stabbed Annie Marie Simenson, 62, with a butcher's knife and a machete in Phoenix and got away with her car, jewelry and electronics. He told police that he attacked both women because they "jilted" him. He said he had intended to kill Beckman and that he was surprised she survived.
Ridley had no prior record of dangerous crimes, police said
According to the Daily Mail, Beckman's attorney, Marc Saggese, said Match.com is "absolutely not safe," but subscribers who register to use the company's service think it is. The attorney said: "The basis of the lawsuit is the advertising that is utilized by Match.com, lulling women and men into a false sense of security."
In addition to $10million, Beckman is demanding that Match.com post a disclaimer on the site similar to the warnings on cigarettes and alcoholic beverages. She said: "They don’t say one in five users are part of an attempted murder. They don’t tell you people are missing... I struggled a lot thinking why did she die and why did I live... God saved me that night for a reason. I shouldn't be here today. It's my mission and goal to save someone from being hurt or help someone make a different decision with their online dating choices."
CBS News reports that Match.com said in a statement that although Beckman's experience was horrible, the basis of the lawsuit was "absurd," especially since Ridley had no known criminal record.
Match.com argued that the lawsuit is frivolous. A Match.com spokeswoman Eva Ross, claimed it offers tips for safe dating, adding that online dating is no less safe than meeting someone "at a bar or at church."
Ross said in the statement:
"What happened to Mary Kay Beckman is horrible, but this lawsuit is absurd. The many millions of people who have found love on Match.com and other online dating sites know how fulfilling it is. And while that doesn't make what happened in this case any less awful, this is about a sick, twisted individual with no prior criminal record, not an entire community of men and women looking to meet each other."
However, Beckman maintains that the warnings and tips on Match.com are inadequate, saying the site needs to warn users of potential dangers.
Beckman's complaint is not the first of its kind, CBS News reports. Carole Markin, a Hollywood producer, claimed a man she met on Match.com raped her. She is demanding that the website install a "sexual predator screening system" for the safety of users.
Betabeat also reports that online dating sites do not do criminal background checks on their users, although many check members for sexual offenses.