Court Dismisses “Retaliatory Surveillance” Claim: Tantaros v. Fox News

In Tantaros v. Fox News Network, LLC et al, 17-cv-2958, 2018 WL 2731268 (SDNY May 18, 2018), the court dismissed, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), plaintiff’s claims under the federal Wiretap Act, as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Plaintiff alleged, inter alia, “that Defendants physically surveilled her and secretly recorded her at work without her consent” and that “Defendants did so in response to her making repeated allegations of sexual harassment against senior Fox News executives.”

In dismissing plaintiff’s Wiretap Act claim, the court explained, inter alia:

[Plaintiff’s ] allegations fail to state a claim under the Wiretap Act because they do not allege that any Defendant actually intercepted, or even tried to intercept, any of Plaintiff’s communications. Even if Fox News or another Defendant was responsible for installing malware on Plaintiff’s personal computer—a conclusion for which there is scant factual support—Plaintiff’s allegations at most support an inference that Defendants had the capability to intercept her communications. Such allegations, however, are insufficient to survive a motion to dismiss.

The court also dismissed plaintiff’s claims under the Stored Communications Act, as well as plaintiff’s common-law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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