A federal judge threw out a lawsuit by a British stunt double for actress Angelina Jolie who claimed News Corp. hired private investigators to tap her mobile phone’s voice mail and seek information for news stories.
The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Los Angeles last year, may have been the first the media company faced in the U.S. by someone claiming to have been a target of phone hacking. News Corp. has been the focus of investigations of phone hacking at its Sun and News of the World tabloids, the second of which was shut down.
U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald in a ruling yesterday agreed with News Corp. that Eunice Huthart’s lawsuit should have been filed in the U.K. While Huthart, who is from Liverpool, “suffered a grotesque invasion of her privacy,” the judge said, “she must obtain her relief from the courts of England and Wales.”
Nathaniel Brown, a News Corp. spokesman, didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment on the ruling.
Huthart said in her complaint that the intercepts occurred while she was working in California in 2004 and 2005, and affected her marriage and family life. She said she sometimes didn’t get messages left on her mobile phone, and at one point her husband “suspected she was having an affair because she did not return his voice messages.”
“We strongly disagree with the decision,” said Norman H. Siegel, Huthart’s Los Angeles lawyer. Her legal team is exploring all its options, he said.
Huthart, who said she worked with Jolie on films including “Beyond Borders,” “Tomb Raider II” and “Mr. & Mrs. Smith,” missed overseas calls from her daughter and “believed she had failed as a parent,” according to the complaint.
The case is Huthart v. News Corp., 13-cv-04253, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).