Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Could Face 500-Plus Civil Claims Over Phone Hacking

2012-13 REP Rupert Murdoch H

Since Murdoch joined Twitter on Dec. 31, the News Corp. CEO has amassed more than 211,000 followers while lobbing 140-character grenades at enemies near and far. Lately he has taken an interest in the U.S. presidential race.

So far, 110 legal cases have been filed or settled.

LONDON -- Lawyers for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. and phone hacking victims estimated Friday that the entertainment conglomerate ultimately could face 500-plus civil claims tied to hacking, compared with about 110 filed or settled so far, The Wall Street Journal reported. 

The lawsuits filed so far are related to hacking by the now-shuttered News of the World tabloid. The media giant has settled more than half of those, including cases brought by Jude Law, Charlotte Church and comedian Steve Coogan.

A lawyer representing News Corp. told a court here Friday that "we're dealing with 500 claims or potential claims," according to the Journal, which is owned by News Corp. A lawyer for the victims estimated that settled, unresolved and potential claims could amount to about 520, it added.

Geoffrey Vos, the High Court judge overseeing the legal process, said his clerk has received a slew of filings in recent days ahead of a court-appointed deadline later this month.

News Corp. has signaled that it wants to settle all civil cases out of court and avoid trials. But Vos said he is preparing for possible trials for so-called "lead cases," or lawsuits that would help indicate how much other victims could get in compensation.

Last month, News Corp. reported that it had spent $167 million on phone hacking-related legal fees, internal probes and settlements over the nine months ended March 31.


Twitter: @georgszalai