FAQ – Defamation Lawsuit Against Fox Corporation
Why is Smartmatic suing Fox News?
Fox News’ disinformation campaign had a direct and harmful impact on Smartmatic’s ability to conduct business in the United States and around the world now and in the future. Accordingly, Smartmatic is defending itself against false, inaccurate, and disparaging attacks made by Fox News. We also believe that efforts to cast doubt on the integrity of the U.S. election system undermine democracy and reflect negatively on the hardworking, dedicated election officials who ensure the integrity of elections.
Who exactly is named in the complaint?
Fox Corporation, which owns Fox News Network LLC, Fox on-air hosts Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro, and Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell. These defendants are primary sources of much of the false information. Their unfounded accusations were repeated by other media outlets, journalists, bloggers and influencers the world over.
Where was the complaint filed?
The complaint was filed in New York State Court in Manhattan.
Why didn’t you file in federal court?
It’s simply a procedural matter. The law requires that we file in state court rather than federal court because Smartmatic and Fox News are both incorporated in Delaware.
Who is representing Smartmatic?
Smartmatic is represented by Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff, LLP. The lead attorney for our suit is J. Erik Connolly, vice chair of the Litigation Practice Group, and member of the Executive Committee.
You sent retraction-demand letters to media outlets OANN and Newsmax. Why aren’t you also suing them?
We are continuing to analyze our claims against OANN and Newsmax. We are taking a measured aproach to pursuing our claims.
How are the false statements hurting Smartmatic’s business?
Smartmatic is forcefully defending its reputation for quality, its secure technology, and its proven record for honest customer service to prevent baseless claims from further hurting our business. Our reputation and our prior work in elections are major factors in our ability to attract new clients. For prospective clients, Smartmatic’s integrity is critical in the decision-making process. But it is equally important to stop these false statements from eroding voters’ confidence in elections to protect democracy.
How much could this cost Smartmatic in terms of lost business?
Smartmatic is suing for $2.7 billion dollars. We are a global company with a proven 20-year record of success in elections technology and services in more than 25 countries. Destroying our reputation with false accusations and disinformation can cause us to lose business with existing customers and vendors and may cause us to lose out on new business in the future. It may also have a ripple effect that negatively impacts elections in other countries.
Have you spoken to customers in other countries about the lawsuit?
The events around the 2020 US election are global news, so pretty much everyone involved in elections in every country is aware of the situation and how Smartmatic was undeservedly dragged into the situation via disinformation. We communicate proactively and honestly with our customers, sharing information as is appropriate.
How was this dollar amount determined?
We have new business opportunities in a number of countries. It’s common for our clients to stay with us for 10 years or more. So, losing a portion of our opportunities can represent a significant loss of business and undermine future prospects. Other operational costs and possible losses are also considered.
How long will the case take to conclude?
There is no way to answer to this question at this time. Every case is unique and contains unique content. Thus, each case concludes in its own timeframe under the court's stewardship.
Will Smartmatic consider settling out of court if an offer is made?
Smartmatic is determined to realize the goals as stated in the lawsuit – namely appropriate compensatory damages, punitive damages, and full and complete retraction of the disinformation on all of Fox’s platforms.
Isn’t the media in the US protected by the First Amendment?
The First Amendment does provide certain protection for the media but there are limits. We believe the defendants exceeded the boundaries of protected speech.
What statements have they made that are false?
Fox made over 100 false statements and implications about Smartmatic. The overall theme of the disinformation campaign was that Smartmatic fixed, rigged, and stole the 2020 U.S. election. That is absolutely false. Smartmatic only provided services and technology to Los Angeles County in the 2020 election.
In what jurisdictions in the U.S. did Smartmatic supply hardware and/or software for the 2020 election?
Smartmatic’s only involvement in the United States in the 2020 election was as the manufacturing partner, system integrator, and software developer for Los Angeles County, California. Claims that Smartmatic was involved in any other election jurisdictions in the U.S. in 2020 are false.
Who owns Smartmatic?
The majority of Smartmatic shares are held by the families of Antonio Mugica and Roger Piñate, who are two of the company’s founders and its CEO and President, respectively. The remaining shares (less than 20%) are held by employees and independent investors.
Does Smartmatic have any business relationships with Dominion Voting Systems?
No. We do not have any business ties to Dominion, no software or hardware leasing, no ownership stake, nothing. Dominion is one of our competitors in the US market.