Judge rejects Fox News’ motion to dismiss Dominion case
A Delaware judge on Friday denied Fox News’ motion to dismiss Dominion Voting Systems’ $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit against the network and sent the case to court.
A jury will be asked to determine whether the network actually committed malice when it presented false allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 election.
Judge Eric M. Davis’ ruling on Friday upheld Dominion’s claim that Fox News published false information about the voting machine company in the weeks following the election, as outgoing President Donald Trump and his allies peddled the false allegations.
“The evidence developed in this civil case shows that it is clear to KRISTALL that none of the statements made regarding Dominion about the 2020 election are true,” Davis wrote in an order.
After the election, Trump’s attorneys repeatedly said Dominion rigged votes to win the race to President Joe Biden and made other false statements about the company’s ownership.
Davis has not given Dominion summary judgment on the company’s allegations that Fox News acted maliciously in presenting the falsehoods, a matter now being weighed in court. The jury will also determine whether Dominion is entitled to damages.
“The parties have prepared a record showing disputed material facts,” Davis wrote.
The Delaware jury trial is expected to begin April 17 in what is likely to be a media spectacle.
Executives and high-profile Fox News anchors who have already given testimony about explosive statements could be called to the witness stand to publicly discuss their actions under oath.
“We are pleased with the court’s thorough ruling, which dismisses all of Fox’s arguments and defenses and rightly finds that their statements about Dominion are false,” said a Dominion representative. “We look forward to the process”
A Fox News representative said: “This case was, and always has been, about protecting the media’s absolute right to cover the news. Fox will continue to fight vigorously for freedom of expression and a free press as we move into the next phase of this process.”
Fox News has argued that the allegations made by Trump and his attorneys on the network are newsworthy — even if they are untrue — and that the network’s reporting is protected by the First Amendment.
The company cited the “neutral reporting privilege,” which protects media organizations from libel claims when they accurately and objectively report newsworthy allegations against public figures in the context of an ongoing controversy.
Davis dismissed that defense, saying it could not shield Fox News from liability.
Dominion’s legal team countered that Fox News went well beyond that area, making allegations of voter fraud and Dominion’s involvement long after allegations had been dismissed by government agencies, producers and journalists within the network.
Davis ruled that “the records are clear,” that Fox News aired the statements, and that, regarding the libel, it is alleged: “All involved in the procurement, composition, and publication of any libel are legally and equally responsible.” ”
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2023-03-31/judge-rules-fox-news-made-false-statements-on-dominion-sending-defamation-case-to-trial Judge rejects Fox News’ motion to dismiss Dominion case