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Paul F. MillusPaul F. Millus ()

On July 6, 2016, former Fox News Anchor Gretchen Carlson sued in Superior Court in New Jersey naming former Fox News Chairman, Roger Ailes, as the lone defendant in a NYC Human Rights Law case alleging sexual harassment at the hands of Ailes. By not naming Fox News, Carlson hoped to avoid the imposition of mandatory arbitration. On July 8, 2016, Ailes filed a Notice of Removal to the U.S. District Court in New Jersey, a motion to stay all proceedings in New Jersey and to compel arbitration. A week later, Ailes filed a Petition in the Southern District of New York to arbitrate all matters involving Carlson. Ailes v. Carlson, 16-cv-05671 (S.D.N.Y. 2016). On July 21, 2016 Ailes resigned from Fox, and by Sept. 6, 2016 the parties filed a Voluntary Order of Dismissal, reportedly settling her case for $20 million, without any court ever weighing the arbitrability of Carlson’s claims.

Conversely, on Aug. 22, 2016, former Fox News Anchor Andrea Tantaros sued several individual defendants, including Ailes and Fox News, also claiming, in part, discrimination based on sex. She too argued that the arbitration provision did not apply to her claims against the individual defendants. Tantaros v. Fox News Network, New York County Supreme Court, Index No. 157054/2016. Fox filed a motion to stay the action and compel arbitration seven days later. The result there was that on Feb. 15, 2017, Justice David Cohen ruled from the bench granting the motion to compel arbitration after oral argument. The difference in terms of the outcome in each case was based on nothing more than timing.

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