Tip Sheets

‘No shortage of twists’ in Dominion defamation case against Fox

Media Contact

Damien Sharp

Jury selection and opening statements are expected to begin today in Dominion’s defamation lawsuit against Fox News Network – a trial that will test First Amendment protections.

Gautam Hans

Associate Clinical Professor of Law

“The Dominion Voting Systems v. Fox News Network case has had no shortage of twists, and the last-minute 24-hour delay on the eve of trial has been one of the most dramatic. It seems likely that settlement talks might prevent Fox from facing a hefty verdict.

“Whether Dominion can prevail at trial remains an open question, given the exceedingly high bar a plaintiff must overcome to prevail in a defamation case. Dominion already has scored multiple legal and PR wins, but even if they won at the trial stage, this case would likely continue on appeal for months or years. The open question is whether other plaintiffs might seek to roll the dice on a defamation claim, or if this case was merely the exception that proves the rule that defamation claims often fail.”

Alexandra Lahav

Professor of Law

“A trial delay like this one usually means the parties are talking about settlement. As litigators sometimes say, there is nothing like a trial deadline to focus the mind. If the case does settle, it raises questions about whether that payment will deter future misconduct and what we as a society should do with the information this litigation has already revealed. 

“Discovery in this case has led to significant revelations for our democracy and the media’s role. A trial would likely bring even more attention to those discoveries and maybe lead to a better public understanding of disinformation. That said, this is not the only case against Fox relating to its coverage of the 2020 election and I’ve seen some commentators suggest that any settlement here may be a floor for cases to come.”

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