Fox News argued that the nonprofit group that attempted to sue for its coverage during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic got “caught up in the partisan anti-Fox fervor.”
The network’s lawyers submitted another filing to the court on Friday, more than a week after a Washington state judge dismissed the case, for “attorney fees and costs.”
“Fox does not believe that this lawsuit, however ill-advised and misguided, was malicious. Rather, it appears that plaintiffs and their counsel were caught up in the partisan anti-Fox fervor fomented by some pundits and agitators. Fox therefore will not move for sanctions,” the lawyers argued in the filing, which was obtained by the Washington Examiner.
“In the true spirit of the First Amendment, Fox will combat plaintiffs’ false accusations with its own true speech, and will continue to advance its mission of accurate reporting and clear opinions on the Coronavirus pandemic and other issues of public importance,” they said. “Accordingly, Fox seeks only the following statutory attorney fees and costs.”
The filing asked the group, the Washington League for Increased Transparency and Ethics, to pay $334.94. The breakdown of the fees includes a $200 “statutory attorney fee” and six filing fees, each costing $22.49.
WASHLITE filed its lawsuit in April, seeking a temporary and permanent injunction against Fox News that would prevent it from covering the pandemic. The suit argued the cable news network violated a state consumer protection statute, “claiming that COVID-19 is a hoax to subscribers of a private cable television system thereby deceiving Washington consumers” and raising the question of whether a cable news channel is entitled to First Amendment protections for content it broadcasts on a private cable television system owned by another entity.
“WASHLITE’s professed goal in this lawsuit — to ensure that the public receives accurate information about the coronavirus and COVID-19 — is laudable. However, the means employed here, a CPA claim against a cable news channel, runs afoul of the protections of the First Amendment,” King County Superior Court Judge Brian McDonald wrote in his ruling, which went in Fox News’s favor.
One of the lawyers for WASHLITE, Cat Clark, previously told the Washington Examiner that the group intended to file an appeal.