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LONDON — News International is trying for the first time to have a phone-hacking damages case thrown out of court rather than settle it.
The case involves Elle Macpherson‘s former financial adviser Mary-Ellen Field who is embroiled in a civil action against News International’s The News of The World, a paper Rupert Murdoch‘s News Corp. closed in the wake of the phone hacking scandal.
A News International spokesperson declined to comment on the case.
News International is applying for a summary judgment against Field and will argue for her case to be struck out on the grounds it has no legal merit.
The publishing subsidiary’s move comes despite repeated claims by Field that her life was destroyed after her phone was allegedly hacked by The News of the World.
According to a report in The Guardian, Field’s claims – legally launched 18 months ago — have never been publicly denied by Murdoch’s subsidiary.
The Guardianreports it is believed that this is the first time News International has tried to have one of the numerous damages lawsuits relating to phone hacking struck out rather than settled.
But while this has not been denied, sources close to the action said it is unlikely to signal a change in strategy by News International in dealing with mounting costs and suits against the News Corp. division.
Field, when giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry into media ethics said here reputation had been “trashed” after MacPherson said she had leaked stories to the press about the supermodel.
Field was one of more than 60 individuals who took legal action against News International last year in the first tranche of cases at the high court.
Almost all were settled, including claims by actors Jude Law, Steve Coogan and singer Charlotte Church.
Field’s case was among those held over for the second tranche of civil phone hacking cases, which now include at least 50 claims due to be heard next year.
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