In a series of court filings Friday, Fox News chairman Roger Ailes responded to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed this week by former FNC host Gretchen Carlson.
In one motion, Ailes’ attorneys argue that Carlson breached her contract with Fox News by suing Ailes, when her “multi-million dollar employment agreement” with Fox required settling disputes by arbitration. The motion suggests Carlson’s suit names only Ailes–and not Fox News–as a means of avoiding the arbitration requirement. “There is no legal basis upon which she can rightfully assert that she was entitled to sue Defendant Ailes in court and sully his reputation in public,” the filing says.
In another filing, Ailes’ attorneys argue that Carlson’s suit should not have been filed in New Jersey, noting that Ailes considers himself a resident of New York, and describing Carlson’s home state as Connecticut. Prevailing on that question would remove the case from New Jersey state court and move it into federal court.
“Gretchen Carlson had an arbitration clause in her contract, stating that any employment dispute regarding her employment at Fox News must be done via confidential arbitration,” said Barry Asen, a partner at Epstein, Becker and Green. “Because Ms. Carlson’s lawsuit violated the arbitration clause, a motion was filed in federal court to have the case arbitrated. The federal court is the proper court to decide the motion because Ms. Carlson’s primary residence is in Connecticut and Mr. Ailes’ primary residence is in New York.”