“A movie star and a priest walk into a courtroom …” It might sound like the beginning of a joke, but News Corp. likely isn’t laughing.
This week, British actor Hugh Grant and British pop star Charlotte Church’s priest sued the media company for damages tied to the hacking scandal involving its now-defunct tabloid News of the World.
On Wednesday, Father Richard Reardon, a Welsh priest, sued News Corp. in London. Reardon claims the company’s tabloid hacked into his voicemails to try to get information about one of his parishioners, the British singer Charlotte Church. His phone’s interception came to light in February, when News Corp. paid $967,000 to settle a separate privacy lawsuit that Church had filed in which News Corp. admitted to hacking into her voicemail since she was 16.
Grant, who filed his suit yesterday in London, says News of the World’s phone hacking led to various media intrusions, including a break-in at his apartment and stories about his private medical treatments.
The two suits will be lumped with nearly 60 others that hacking victims have filed against News Corp. since February, when the company settled an earlier group of cases in order to avoid trial. If the new set of cases isn’t settled, a trial is scheduled for May 2013.
Meanwhile, authorities are still investigating News Corp.’s journalists’ misconduct, including phone hacking, computer hacking and bribing public officials. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, 80 people have been arrested so far, including Rebekah Brooks, the former CEO of News International, News Corp.’s U.K. publisher.
For more InsideCounsel stories about the News Corp. hacking scandal, read: