Fox News Channel settled a plethora of discrimination suits this week, got a new CEO in longtime executive Suzanne Scott, and today the Rupert Murdoch owned cabler won a festering $10 million surveillance lawsuit against former host Andrea Tantaros.
“Plaintiff claims that Defendants targeted her for electronic and physical surveillance after she lodged complaints of sexual harassment against Ailes and other Fox News executives,” said U.S. District Judge George Daniels in an order Friday of the latest wide-ranging action the ex-The Five co-host first took against FNC, its pink slipped and now deceased boss Roger Ailes, communications exec Irena Briganti, ex-co-president Bill Shine and others in April of last year. “Plaintiff’s amended complaint is based primarily on speculation and conjecture,” the federal judge scathingly adds (read it here). “Moreover, she fails to adequately make out the basic elements of her claims.”
“Accordingly, the amended complaint is dismissed,” declares Judge Daniels in his 19-page memorandum decision and order to the defendants’ motion to dismiss.
As FNC tries to turn the page on nearly two years of sex scandals and toxic optics that started when ex-Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson hit the once seemingly untouchable Ailes with an eventually $20 million settled harassment suit in the summer of 2016, this is a 0-2 result for Tantaros. Before launching her most recent accusations in 2017 of device hacking, malware, Twitter trolling, CCTV, electronic and physical surveillance, the ex-host reluctantly saw her initially $50 million sex harassment action of August 2016 moved behind closed doors of arbitration.
Contacted by Deadline for a statement on today’s result, a spokesperson for FNC said today’s decision speaks for itself.
With a curt schooling to Tantaros that she was making claims that didn’t even fall under the Wiretap Act she was citing, Judge Daniels’ decision is certainly one that leaves the former Fiver grasping for legal air should she choose to get yet another attorney or appeal herself.
“Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient, non-conclusory facts showing that Defendants violated either the Wiretap Act or the SCA, much less that they did so with intent to cause Plaintiff ‘severe emotional distress,’” today’s decision bluntly states of the invoking of the privacy protection law and the Stored Communications Act. “Moreover, Plaintiff has not alleged any facts to support her conclusory assertion that she suffered “severe emotional distress, requiring medical treatment and medication,” as required to state a claim,” Daniels states, pretty much leaving the suit not only tossed but gutted.
While FNC and the other defendants were represented in this matter by NYC’s Dechert, LLP and several other pricey and well-regarded law firms, Tantaros ended up repping herself.