Smartmatic Soundly Rejects Fox News’ Motions to Dismiss
Boca Raton, FL – April 12, 2021 – Smartmatic today filed an omnibus brief opposing motions filed by the Fox defendants (including its news anchors) to dismiss its defamation and disparagement claims. The Smartmatic lawsuit, filed on February 4, seeks $2.7 billion plus additional compensation for punitive damages.
Smartmatic’s 120-page brief sets forth, in detail, the substantial basis that it has for its claims and asks the court to deny the motions. Smartmatic asserts that it has a straightforward case that is in line with black letter law. According to Smartmatic’s opposition filing, the Fox defendants cannot cloak themselves in the First Amendment’s freedom-of-speech clause. “The First Amendment does not give anyone, even news organizations, a free pass to defame a private company,” said Smartmatic’s attorney J. Erik Connolly, Vice Chair of the Litigation Practice Group, at Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLP.
Smartmatic’s filing rejects Fox’s justification for its actions, including that it was “reporting” on official proceedings involving Smartmatic, of which there were none; that it is not responsible for the defamatory messages presented on its platforms when Fox and its anchors clearly sanctioned and repeatedly promoted those messages; and that Fox’s anchors were merely expressing opinions when their statements were touted as facts. It also rejects any contention by Fox that it is entitled to a neutral reporting privilege or that its reporting was at all “neutral.”
In its opposition, Smartmatic lays out that each of the Fox defendants (a) knew the statements being made about Smartmatic were unverified, (b) knew that Smartmatic and government officials had refuted their statements, (c) had access to dozens of reports from government officials showing their statements were not accurate, (d) had obvious reasons to doubt the veracity of the claims being made about Smartmatic, (e) violated their journalistic responsibilities and code of ethics, and (f) acted with improper motives. The totality of Smartmatic’s allegations show the Fox defendants knew their statements were false or demonstrated reckless disregard for the truth.
Smartmatic also points out that the Fox defendants do not attempt to defend the challenged statements as true. Smartmatic provided election equipment and services to just one jurisdiction – Los Angeles County – during the US 2020 election. The falsity of the accusations Fox published about Smartmatic is undisputed.
“This was a campaign based on falsehoods that strikes at the very heart of our company’s principles,” said Antonio Mugica, CEO of Smartmatic.
Read Smartmatic's complete opposition filing here.