News Corp, Murdoch Avoid Lawsuit Over Phone Hacking

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News Corp, Murdoch Avoid Lawsuit Over Phone Hacking

News Corp and its Chairman, Robert Murdoch, avoided a lawsuit last week. U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe dismissed a suit alleging that News Corp defrauded shareholders by hiding widespread, illegal phone hacking at two of its British newspapers, stating that defendants could not be held liable for statements that predated the period for which shareholders attempted to recoup alleged losses. The suit stemmed from statements made by Murdoch and others after the arrests of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire, who were imprisoned for hacking the British royal family’s phones .

News Corp shareholders brought suit against the corporation alleging that it made statements to the press and in testimony to Parliament that the phone hacking incident was isolated. The shareholders alleged that the phone hacking was rampant at the now-defunct News of the World and The Sun tabloids and that the practice caused News Corp shares to fall seventeen percent in 2002 and ruined its opportunity to purchase British Sky Broadcasting Ltd .

Regardless, Gadephe ruled that nearly all of the statements made predated the class period and that the defendants had no duty to correct them. The court gave the shareholders until April 30 to file an amended complaint .

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