News Corp is a publicly-traded company that creates and provides education, news, media, and other information services throughout the world. It also publishes books and provides video subscription services and digital real estate services. it’s a large corporation with significant interests in other large media companies, and ownership in many subsidiaries. News Corp has had its share of legal problems through the years. The company has been named in numerous class-action lawsuits, asserting wrongdoing that resulted in personal damages to the companies and individuals filing the lawsuits. We found a few dozen lawsuits recorded and many of them are smaller cases that settled for several thousand, with five of them into the millions and beyond. Here are the ten biggest News Corp lawsuits in company history.
10. News Corp Subsidiary penalized for employment-related offenses Penalty amount: $10,001
Intermix Media, Inc. is a subsidiary of News Corp. In 2007, the company was accused of committing employment-related offenses. Employees of Intermix Media inc. complained that the company committed employee benefits security benefit plan administrator violation in the form of a deficient filer. A civil suit was filed by the Employee Benefits Security Administration to remedy the injustice. Intermix Media, Inc was penalized in the amount of $10,001 for committing the violations. The case was settled on January 29, 2007. This was one of the smaller lawsuit settlements, but it is the tenth biggest lawsuit in terms of cost to the parent company and damage to the reputation among workers and federal agencies.
9. News Corp subsidiary NYP Holdings, Inc, penalized for OSHA violations Penalty amount: $10,850
NYP Holdings, Inc is a subsidiary company under News Corp. The enterprise was accused of committing safety-related offenses at its facility in The Bronx, New York. A civil suit was filed against NYP Holdings Inc as a civil suit in Federal court. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated the claims and found NYP Holdings, Inc to violate workplace safety or health violations resulting in a penalty of $10,850 to resolve the complaints. The case was resolved on September 3, 2003.
8. News Corp subsidiary New York Post Penalized for Serious OSHA violation Penalty amount: $11,025
The New York Post is a subsidiary company under News Corp. The New York-based company was accused of OSHA violations deemed in the “serious” category. Workers covered under the Union filed a grievance against the company for safety-related offenses in 2000. The allegations included New York Post committing health and workplace safety violations. An agency action was taken at the federal level of government to investigate worker claims about their safety by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration. The civil suit resulted in the News Corp subsidiary receiving a penalty of $11,025 for OSHA violations in a civil matter. This was one of many cases that resulted in OSHA penalties. The case was resolved on November 28, 2000. It’s one of the smaller lawsuits filed against News Corp and its subsidiaries.
7. News Corp subsidiary penalized for employment-related offenses in 2000 Penalty amount: $16,640
Down Jones & Company Inc. is a subsidiary of News Corp. The Ohio company was accused of labor relations violation for allegations of unfair labor practices and withholding back pay due to its workers. The federal case was investigated by the National Labor Relations Board. The civil lawsuit alleged that workers were treated unfairly by the Dow Jones & Company’s Bowling Green facility. The NLRB takes these allegations seriously and reported findings to the court. Dow Jones & Company Inc. settled the case by paying a penalty of $16,640 to compensate the workers with the back pay they had coming to them, according to wage and labor laws. The case was resolved on February 16, 2000. The case was a victory for workers who suffered financial damages from unfair and unethical labor practices.
6. Dow Jones & Company penalized three years after the most recent lawsuit Penalty amount: $25,000
The Dow Jones & Company, Inc. was penalized $16,640 for violations of wage and labor laws in 2000. Just three years later, the same subsidiary of News Corp was in court again for employment-related offenses. It was another case of labor relations violations, but this time, the complaints were against the Princeton, New Jersey facility. The civil suit was filed in a federal court in Princeton, New Jersey, and investigated by the National Labor Relations Board. Investigators had previous experience with a different Dow Jones & Company facility in Bowling Green, Ohio, a few years before. The civil case resulted in Dow Jones & Company receiving a penalty of $25,000 for the violations. The penalty went to pay back wages it owed to some workers who suffered financial harm because of the company’s unfair labor practices. Dow Jones & Company agreed to the settlement on February 12, 2003, to resolve the case and compensate workers for the funds owed. This litigation was the second documented offense for the News Corp subsidiary. The distance between the two plants suggests that some policies held by management needed review and revision to bring Dow Jones & Company into compliance with federal labor laws and standards.
5. The State of Texas et al v. Hachette Book Group, Inc. et al Penalty amount: $22,471,666
Violation Tracker confirms that HarperCollins Publishers LLC, a subsidiary of News Corp was named in a 2013 lawsuit. It alleged competition-related offenses. The plaintiffs accused them of price-fixing and anti-competitive practices. The multistate group filed lawsuits against several leading publishers claiming they conspired to fix the price charged for electronic books. The attorneys general filed the case in the Southern District of New York. The publishers, owned by News Corp, agreed to a settlement of $166 million to resolve the allegations and close the case. Harper Collins paid $22.5 million in penalties. Apple Inc paid $450 million. They settled the case on February 8, 2013.
4. News Corp sued by shareholders in a 2013 class-action lawsuit Settlement amount: $139 million
Hollywood Reporter reports that News Corp got named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed in a state court in Delaware in 2011. The plaintiffs alleged that a $24 million purchase of Shine Group Ltd, run by CEO Rupert Murdoch’s daughter, functioned as a subsidiary of News Corp. The company failed to exercise its duties when phone hacking occurred from the newspaper assets in the United Kingdom. Pay for information for top execs is disclosed outside of the standard reporting and deadlines, and failure to report within the proper timelines resulted in allegations of the board failing to report phone hacking. Shareholders filed a class-action lawsuit. The litigation was led by plaintiffs Amalgamated Bank and others and culminated in a mediation period ending in a settlement agreement for $139 million in April 2013. News Corp also agreed to establish a whistleblowing hotline and add a political activity policy to its website. It also agreed to other actions to note non-tax-deductible payments of $25k or more in reports to the board of directors and disclose the political contributions of its shareholders.
3. News Corp Settles In-Store Promotions Litigation: Dial Corp et al v. News Corp et al Lawsuit amount: $280 million
Reuters reports that a lawsuit filed against News Corp accused the company of monopolizing the markets for in-store promotions. The promotions appeared in over 50,000 US retail stores. The suit was filed in a federal court in Manhattan that resulted in a jury trial. The lawsuit originally asked for $674.6 million in damages. Rupert Murdoch, the CEO, proposed a settlement of $280 million to resolve the case. The proposal reimbursed various consumer packaged goods companies Kraft Heinz Co, Dial Corp, and others with $250 million and an additional $30 million directed to resolve other related claims. Under federal antitrust law, the amount of the penalty could have legally tripled to a potential of $2 billion. News Corp used middlemen to promote goods through electronic signs, end-of-aisle displays, shopping cart ads, and coupon dispensers. Plaintiffs claimed that News Corp’s domination of the market locked long-term contracts with retailers from 2004 with a 90.5 percent of the market share since 2019. They cited anti-competitive conduct to unnecessarily inflate prices and promote goods from the manufacturers which resulted in overcharges up to nearly 40 percent from 2009 through 2016. News Corp further agreed to not enter into exclusive retailers contracts of more than 2.5 years unless they asked in writing for the contracts. The settlement terms require the agreement to remain in place for five years.
2. Valassis Communications vs. News Corp Lawsuit amount: $560 million
The Wrap reports that Valassis Communications filed a lawsuit against News Corp, seeking $560 million in damages for allegations of unfair and unethical practices committed by News America, a subsidiary of News Corp. The lawsuit was filed in 2013 in a District Court in Michigan. This lawsuit was not the first litigation between the two companies. A previous lawsuit filed in 2009 alleged that News America Marketing engaged in unfair competition with coupon distribution and advertising of in=store displays. The 2009 lawsuit settled in favor of the plaintiff, awarding Valassis $300 million in compensation. Before the 2009 lawsuit progressed to a jury trial, News America negotiated with Valassis for a $500 million settlement with an agreement for ten-year mail distribution to resolve the claims. A code of practices got set in place. It was to restrict monopoly practices on the part of News America. Valassis ended up in court again. They contended that New Corp did not honor the agreement and continues to practice unfairly and unethically. Further claims that News Corp sought to eliminate Valassis as a competitor were alleged.
1. Smartmatic vs. Fox News and News Corp Lawsuit amount: $2.7 billion
The New York Times confirms a lawsuit accusing News Corp’s cable networks of damaging Smartmatic through the promotion of a false narrative regarding the 2020 presidential election. The allegations claim that the news networks accused them of rigging the presidential race and providing disinformation. A ruling of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan stated that Fox News allowed outrageous claims about the plaintiffs and practiced disregard for the truth that was reckless. The judge declined News Corp’s request to dismiss all claims against Fox News Hosts concerning the Smartmatic assertions. The judge dismissed parts of the defamation case but allowed other aspects of the litigation to move forward. Fox News filed an appeal, but the litigation continues. Fox News is the sister company of News Corp. The Murdoch family owns both of these companies.
News Corp is a massive corporation that controls dozens of subsidiary news-related companies. The media giant has a history of legal problems. Many recorded lawsuits cost News Corp penalties that may seem small when under $25,000. The totals tallied, it’s paid nearly a billion in settlement fees over the past few decades. Some of the large lawsuits filed against News Corp were aimed directly at the parent company and others against its subsidiaries. Most litigations involve OSHA violations, unfair labor practices, and related violations, but some of the more costly offenses involve allegations of anti-trust and anti-competition law violations. News Corp has paid tens of millions of dollars in class-action lawsuit settlements filed by companies damaged by its unfair and illegal practices that cause them to lose business and suffer financially. It’s breached multiple laws against marketing practices that encourage monopolies. It’s engaged with other companies to shut out competitors. The largest lawsuit ever filed against News Corp is still pending. The Murdoch family faces a $2.7 billion lawsuit for anti-competition practices. Massive corporations with numerous subsidiaries often encounter legal problems that result in fines and penalties costing hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars. Many count it the cost of doing business and retaining their leadership positions in the race to command the biggest percentage of the marketplace pie.