Fox Corp. Must Face $2.7 Billion Smartmatic Defamation Lawsuit, Judge Rules

A motion from the voting tech company to dismiss Fox’s counterclaims that the defamation suit is intended to limit free speech was also dismissed

Fox Corp.
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Fox Corp. must face Sartmatic’s $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit, a New York judge rules on Wednesday, denying a motion to dismiss claims against Fox News’ parent company. 

The judge also denied a motion from Smartmatic to dismiss Fox’s counterclaims that the defamation suit is intended to limit free speech. 

Both sides took home a win in separate orders on Wednesday, as the battle between the voting technology company and Fox News continues. Smartmatic has accused Fox of intentionally misleading viewers about the technology, in the aftermath of the 2020 election. 

Fox Corp. lawyers had asked the court to dismiss claims against the corporation, arguing that the parent company of Fox News was not legally responsible for the coverage on the network. 

New York County Supreme Court Justice David Cohen denied the motion on Wednesday, saying “plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged in their amended complaint that Corp. employees played an affirmative role in the publication of the defamation at issue.”

The judge also pointed out that Smartmatic has “sufficiently alleged that Corp. employees acted with malice,” which will be considered during the trial. 

The judge continued that Fox’s “argument here is that plaintiffs’ alleged damages are so extenuated from their actual lost profits that they were pleaded and/or sought in order to chill defendant’s free speech rights. That argument has not yet been adjudicated in any court.” 

“We will be ready to defend this case surrounding extremely newsworthy events when it goes to trial, likely in 2025,” Fox Corp. said in a statement. “As a report prepared by our financial expert shows, Smartmatic’s damages claims are implausible, disconnected from reality, and on their face intended to chill First Amendment freedoms.”

This lawsuit is separate from the case brought against Fox after the 2020 election Dominion Voting Systems, a different voting machine company settled with Fox in April for $787.5 million as the case was set to go to trial. 

Notably, Fox’s top lawyer when the Dominion settlement was reached, Viet Dinh, stepped down from the company and was replaced by conservative attorney Adam Ciongoli. 

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