Bloomberg Law
April 20, 2023, 6:30 PM

Fox, Murdochs Face New Lawsuit After $788 Million Dominion Deal

Mike Leonard
Mike Leonard
Legal Reporter

Fox Corp. and Rupert Murdoch were hit with a new shareholder lawsuit Thursday, two days after the conservative media giant said it would pay $787.5 million to end a defamation case over lies it broadcast about the 2020 election.

The complaint in Delaware’s Chancery Court also targets Murdoch’s eldest son, Lachlan, and former US House Speaker Paul Ryan, a member of the Fox board. Although it was filed under seal—and an attorney for the plaintiffs declined to provide additional information—the circumstances suggest the suit blames the company’s leaders for steering it into a legal disaster.

Fox representatives didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The 11th-hour defamation settlement averted a blockbuster trial in Delaware Superior Court of claims that Fox’s leaders chose to air former President Donald Trump’s stolen-election claims for business reasons despite privately acknowledging they were false. The April 18 deal came after a jury had already been selected.

Fox still faces a parallel defamation case brought by Smartmatic USA Corp., a voting technology company that found itself as the center of bizarre election conspiracy theories involving Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and other dictators.

Both Dominion and Smartmatic have also sued Newsmax Media Inc., another conservative news network that spread similar lies. The ongoing cases seek billions in damages, and Dominion recently said it has been “under siege” from threats since the networks devoted airtime to slandering it.

The proposed class action filed Thursday is the first court case seeking to hold Fox accountable since the Dominion settlement was announced, but it appears to echo a shareholder derivative suit filed April 11, just as the defamation trial was getting underway. Derivative cases technically seek to have corporate leaders repay a company for their wrongdoing, while shareholder class actions request damages directly on behalf of investors.

The earlier complaint focused at length on blockbuster revelations that emerged from the Fox-Dominion case in February. The documents showed senior Fox News personalities—including Rupert Murdoch and Tucker Carlson, its most influential anchor—privately disparaging Trump’s false claims even as the network broadcast them. Murdoch referred to them as “really crazy stuff.”

That case is being heard by Vice Chancellor J. Travis Laster. No judge has been assigned to preside over the new shareholder complaint.

The shareholders leading the proposed class action, Julie Greenberg and Carylin Riak, are represented by Prickett, Jones & Elliott PA. The investor who filed the derivative suit, Robert Schwarz, is represented by Heyman Enerio Gattuso & Hirzel LLP and Gardy & Notis LLP. Fox and its leaders haven’t made a court appearance in either case yet.

The case is Greenberg v. Fox Corp., Del. Ch., No. 2023-0440, complaint filed under seal 4/20/23.

—With assistance from Jef Feeley.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mike Leonard in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Carmen Castro-Pagán at; Rob Tricchinelli at

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