News Corp. Shareholders Add to Suit: Say Phone Hacking Is Only Latest Impropriety

They claim that phone hacking is the latest in a sustained pattern of failed corporate governance and illicit activity at media conglomerate

News Corp. shareholders have filed a second amended complaint in their lawsuit against the media conglomerate, alleging that phone hacking is just the latest impropriety in a sustained pattern of abuses.

Citing judgments against News Corp., as well as hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements, the shareholders claim a score of charges dating back to the 1990s, including computer hacking, breaches of privacy and anti-competitive practices.

The suit, which was filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery, has expanded to include U.S. entities such as News America Marketing and NDS.

Among the shareholders spearheading the suit are Amalgamated Bank, trustee for various LongView investment funds, along with the Central Laborers Pension Fund and other public pension funds. They are represented by Grant & Eisenhofer P.A. and Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP.

“The revelations surrounding News Corp.’s corporate governance lapses get worse with each new disclosure,” Grant & Eisenhofer partner Jay Eisenhofer said in a statement. “In fact, our new complaint shows that the illicit phone hacking and subsequent cover-ups at News of the World were part of a much broader, historic pattern of corruption at News Corp., under the acquiescence of a board that was fully aware of the wrongdoing, if not directly complicit in the actions."

The group first sued News Corp. in March after it purchased Shine, the television production company run by Elisabeth Murdoch, daughter of News Corp. Chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch.

The suit accused the News Corp. of rubberstamping whatever Rupert Murdoch desired.  

The shareholders than filed an additional complaint in July as the phone hacking scandal began to ramp up alleging nepotism and failed corporate governance.

This latest addendum arrives on the same day that Parliament has called another Murdoch progeny, James, to testify for a second time about phone hacking.