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Fox News drops lawsuit seeking to gag Tucker Carlson producer suing them for discrimination

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 29: Fox News host Tucker Carlson discusses 'Populism and the Right' during the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel March 29, 2019 in Washington, DC. Carlson talked about a large variety of topics including dropping testosterone levels, increasing rates of suicide, unemployment, drug addiction and social hierarchy at the summit, which had the theme 'The Case for the American Experiment.'

Tucker Carlson (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

One day after suing Tucker Carlson’s producer, Fox News quickly retreated on Tuesday with a brief indicating, without explanation, that the network dropped its case.

The filing gives Fox News the option to refile the case, if it so chooses.

“PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that, pursuant to CPLR 3217(a)(1), Plaintiff Fox News Network, LLC, hereby discontinues this proceeding, without prejudice, and without costs to any party,” the single-paragraph notice reads in full.

Attorneys for producer Abby Grossberg applauded the reversal.

“While our office was fully prepared and ready to argue to the New York Supreme Court why Fox News’s baseless and retaliatory lawsuit seeking to restrain Ms. Grossberg from speaking out about her abhorrent experiences at the Network was frivolous, Fox News wisely decided to give up on its clearly meritless claims against Ms. Grossberg,” attorneys Parisis G. Filippatos and Tanvir H. Rahman wrote in a statement. “We remain ready and eager to vindicate Fox News’s blatant and repeated violation of Ms. Grossberg’s rights, including her right to not be baselessly sued in retaliation for complaining about unlawful conduct, in the Southern District of New York and in Delaware Superior Court.”

On Monday, Fox News filed a lawsuit in New York County Supreme Court seeking a declaration that Grossberg’s communications with the network’s attorneys are protected by attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine. It also sought an injunction blocking Grossberg from “disclosing Fox News’ privileged information to the public or to any other third parties.”

Grossberg claims that Fox “coerced, intimidated, and misinformed” her as they “prepared” her for her deposition in the $1.6 billion defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion.

“Then, as if Fox News could not act any more unlawfully, the Network sued Ms. Grossberg in an effort to silence her from telling her story in this lawsuit minutes after she refused to agree to settle her claims alleged herein on Fox News’s terms,” Grossberg’s lawsuit states. “There could hardly be a more vivid and clear example of unlawful retaliation.”

Grossberg, a senior producer and head of booking for Tucker Carlson, was placed on forced administrative leave hours later, according to her lawsuit.

In her lawsuit, Grossberg said that she endured extensive discrimination when she was a booking producer for Maria Bartiromo.

“Ms. Grossberg was isolated, overworked, undervalued, denied opportunities for promotion, and generally treated significantly worse than her male counterparts, even when those men were less qualified than her,” her lawsuit said.

She says that she sought a “fresh start” by accepting a position at Carlson’s show, only to find that she “went from the proverbial frying pan into the fire.”

Citing a New York Times investigation providing a data-based analysis of the show’s topics and messages, Grossberg notes that “Tucker Carlson Tonight” has been described as “the most racist show in the history of cable news.” She alleges gender and religious-based discrimination, on the basis of her Jewish faith.

The conservative network claims that Grossberg used the unrelated lawsuit in a “transparent attempt to gain leverage.”

Grossberg seeks monetary damages that are tripled under New York Pay Equity Law, along with punitive damages.

In a statement, Fox cast Grossberg’s allegations in connection to Dominion as “baseless.”

“FOX News Media engaged an independent outside counsel to immediately investigate the concerns raised by Ms. Grossberg, which were made following a critical performance review. Her allegations in connection with the Dominion case are baseless. We will vigorously defend Fox against all of her claims and are confident we will prevail.”

New York Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Schechter issued an order declaring the network’s request for an injunction moot.

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."