Former News International CEO Rebekah Brooks wants her involvement in a U.S. class action suit over the phone hacking scandal dismissed. “The Complaint should be dismissed as to Brooks because Plaintiffs have failed to allege any facts to support a finding of personal jurisdiction over her,” says a motion (read it here) the ex-News Corp executive’s lawyers filed last week. Brooks, who was News International boss from September 2009 to July 15, 2011, is facing criminal charges in the UK in relation to the sprawling phone hacking scandal. A shareholder’s lawsuit launched Stateside on July 19, 2011 accuses Brooks, plus co-defendants Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch and Les Hinton, as having violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The Avon Pension Fund, Iron Workers Local Union No. 17 Pension Fund and Lewis Wilder’s class action claims that the executives concealed the “existence and extent of illegal and unethical newsgathering practices” at News International.
The U.S. shareholders claim that revelations of the hacking scandal battered News Corp stock, which fell 17% in value in early July 2011. Brooks, a UK citizen and resident, disagrees. “There is simply no allegation that Brooks committed any particular act in the U.S. that damaged Plaintiffs. In such a case, it is unfair to conclude that Brooks—who, during the class period, worked for a company headquartered in the United Kingdom—should have foreseen being sued individually in the U.S.,” says Brooks’ motion. The motion also says that plaintiffs have not proved that Brooks acted in a “state embracing intent to deceive, manipulate, or defraud.” The Avon Pension Fund is represented by Randi Dawn Bandman, Dennis Herman, David Avi Rosenfeld, Darren Robbins, Samuel Howard Rudman and Armen Zohrabian of New York’s Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd. Wilder is represented by the same lawyers plus Arthur N. Abbey and Nancy Kaboolian of Abbey SpanierRodd Abrams & Paradis. Megha Charalambides and Michael Kim of New York firm Kobre & Kim are representing Rebekah Brooks.