Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit in Delaware Superior Court against Fox News on Friday seeking damages for Fox’s claims that Dominion rigged the 2020 presidential election against President Donald Trump. The voting machine manufacturer is asking for more than $1 billion in damages, claiming that Fox’s on-air claims have greatly damaged their business and resulted in their employees being the targets of harassment.
Dominion is claiming numerous “verifiably false” defamatory statements were made on Fox and affiliated media channels about the company, including 1) that Dominion committed election fraud by rigging the 2020 presidential election; 2) that Dominion’s software and algorithms manipulated vote counts in the election; 3) that Dominion is owned by a Venezuelan company and was used to rig elections for Hugo Chavez; and 4) that Dominion paid kickbacks to government officials who agreed to use Dominion machines in their jurisdictions for the 2020 presidential election. Dominion claims that Fox acted with actual malice in spreading this information, a key component of a defamation suit.
Dominion argues that Fox knew from independent reports that these stories were fabrications but promoted them anyway, which thereby “took a small flame and turned it into a forest fire,” and “recklessly disregarded the truth” in order to inflate flagging viewership numbers with its primarily conservative viewership. Dominion claims that these on-air statements from famous Fox personalities like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson deeply damaged its business, both in reputation and the loss of contracts.
Along with punitive damages to be determined at trial, Dominion seeks lost profits of $600 million, lost enterprise value of $1 billion, and expenses associated with security and combatting Fox’s disinformation campaign at $1 million. Fox has responded by calling the lawsuit “baseless” and affirming the veracity of its 2020 election coverage. This suit follows other defamation suits that Dominion has filed against prominent conservatives, most notably seeking similar relief against former Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani for $1.3 billion in January.
Few other major media venues promoted claims of fraud in the 2020 election due to concerns about the truth of the claims. The federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency has called the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.”