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The math behind Dominion Voting System's $1.6 billion lawsuit against Fox News

npr.org | April 14th, 2023

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Short Summaries

Suit Against Fox News
Fox News faces a $1.6 billion defamation suit from Dominion Voting Systems beginning next week in Delaware. The trial will determine whether Fox is liable for broadcasting lies about Dominion’s role in the 2020 election, and if the damage claim is reasonable. Dominion claims that its business suffered enormously as a result of Fox’s falsehoods.

Proof of “Actual Malice”
Election tech company Dominion Voting Systems is suing Fox News and its parent company for airing election fraud claims, seeking monetary damages of over a billion dollars for reputational harm, loss of business, and other expenses. The case will require proof of “actual malice” and a connection between the loss and the conspiracy theories.

Shasta County in California
Shasta County in California canceled their contract with Dominion, citing baseless conspiracy theories about their machines.

Dominion’s Net Increase/Loss
Dominion has seen a net increase in jurisdictions using their equipment since 2020, but a net loss in the total number of registered voters using their machines.

Changes in Voting Machine Contracts
Dominion, the election equipment vendor, faces challenges as some conservative jurisdictions turn away while others continue to use them. Fox News claims Dominion’s lawsuit is a money grab. Some election officials fear that Dominion Voting Systems’ reputation may be damaged due to conspiracy theories in the 2020 election, leading to potential changes in voting machine contracts.

Detailed Notes

Dominion Voting System’s defamation suit against Fox News

•Dominion Voting Systems is seeking $1.6 billion in damages from Fox News in a defamation suit over the lies Fox broadcast about Dominion’s role in the 2020 election.

•The trial, set to begin next week in Delaware, will determine if Fox and its executives are liable for broadcasting the lies and if $1.6 billion in damages is a realistic amount.

•Dominion claims that it made significant efforts to inform Fox News of the falseness of the claims but saw their business suffer horribly due to the baseless conspiracy theories.

•Fox’s legal filings have denied Dominion’s damage claims, arguing that their losses have no connection to Dominion’s financial value.

•If the jury finds Fox liable, they can award damages for actual losses suffered by Dominion.

Dominion’s Lawsuit Against Fox News Over Election Claims

•Dominion Voting Systems is suing Fox News and parent company Fox Corp. over election fraud claims aired in 2020 and 2021.

•Dominion will have to show comments were made with “actual malice” to win the lawsuit and will seek punitive damages.

•Dominion commissioned a report filed with the court that lays out approximately a billion dollars worth of damages the company has experienced including reputational harm and loss of value to the privately-held company.

•Dominion says it has lost $16 million in profits, more than $70 million in potential business, $14 million in legal, security and other expenses, and more than $900 million in value due to the conspiracy theories tied to the 2020 election.

•Making the case for monetary damages can be challenging because of the complexity in connecting the dots between a business loss and why the loss happened.

•Dominion must prove that state and local governments aren’t using its equipment specifically because of lies and conspiracy theories and not other business factors.

Dominion Voting Systems Contracts Canceled

•Shasta County’s Board of Supervisors recently cited conspiracy theories as the reason for canceling their contract with Dominion.

•Supervisor Patrick Henry Jones claimed he couldn’t rely on mainstream media for information on Dominion’s machines.

•Joanna Francescut, the assistant county clerk, noted that voters in rural and pro-Trump areas easily accepted lies about Dominion.

•Dominion claims its contracts were canceled or not renewed due to lies about the 2020 election.

•Verified Voting analysis reveals that Dominion has actually seen an increase in jurisdictions using their equipment since 2020.

•However, there has been a net loss in the total number of registered voters who will vote with Dominion’s machines in upcoming elections.

Dominion seeks damages from Fox News for alleged defamation

•Dominion has claimed that the defamation it faced has caused them significant harm in terms of their growth, even if their business statements have gone up.

•Fox News has dismissed the claims as a money grab by Dominion’s private equity owners, saying their reporting is protected under the First Amendment.

•Fox News says Dominion’s damage claims assume that it will be completely out of business by 2031, which is not based on financial metrics.

•Citing Dominion financial records, Fox has claimed that 2022 was its second strongest year in terms of revenues, and they are gaining plenty of new customers.

•Many conservative jurisdictions around the country are sticking with Dominion, despite voter distrust, due to the cost and training required to switch election equipment vendors being unfeasible.

The Potential Impacts of 2020 Conspiracy Theories on Dominion’s Business

•Grantham, an election professional, believes that training election judges and staff on new equipment would be a significant undertaking.

•The training requirements would be massive, especially since the equipment is only used once a year in odd years and two to three times in even years.

•Election professionals, including Grantham, speculate that the true impacts of the 2020 conspiracy theories on Dominion’s business may not be known for years.

•The impacts might only become clear when current voting machine contracts come to an end.

•Conservative counties might face political pressure to look for other equipment besides Dominion’s due to the conspiracy theories.

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