Dominion Voting Systems filed a lawsuit against Fox News, charging the Fox Corp. (FOXA) - Get Report division falsely said that the company rigged the 2020 presidential election and that its software and algorithms manipulated the vote count.
Shares of the New York media company were off 11% to $35.85 at last check. Dominion is held by the New York private-equity firm Staple Street Capital.
Dominion, which has requested a jury trial, is seeking at least $1.6 billion in damages.
Fox News Media said in a statement that it was proud of its coverage and "and will vigorously defend against this baseless lawsuit in court.”
In a complaint filed in Superior Court of Delaware, Dominion charged that "Fox, one of the most powerful media companies in the United States, gave life to a manufactured storyline about election fraud that cast a then-little-known voting machine company called Dominion as the villain."
Fox, the complaint said, "endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies about Dominion."
Among other "outlandish, defamatory, and far-fetched fictions," the complaint said, Fox said that Dominion's software and algorithms manipulated vote counts in the election, and that the company was owned by a company founded in Venezuela to rig elections for the late dictator Hugo Chávez.
The complaint said that after the Nov. 3 U.S. election, "viewers began fleeing Fox in favor of media outlets endorsing the lie that massive fraud caused President Trump to lose the election."
"They saw Fox as insufficiently supportive of President Trump, including because Fox was the first network to declare that President Trump lost Arizona," the complaint said.
"So Fox set out to lure viewers back -- including President Trump himself -- by intentionally and falsely blaming Dominion for President Trump’s loss by rigging the election."
Dominion, founded in 2002, is one of the largest manufacturers of voting machine equipment in the U.S. Its equipment was used by election authorities in more than two dozen states last year, including several states carried by Trump.
"The truth matters," the complaint said. "Lies have consequences. Fox sold a false story of election fraud in order to serve its own commercial purposes, severely injuring Dominion in the process. "
Last month, Smartmatic, another voting-machine company, filed a $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox and named the Fox anchors Maria Bartiromo, Lou Dobbs and Jeanine Pirro as defendants.
Attorneys Sidney Powell and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who assisted Trump, were also named in that suit.
Even before Dominion's lawsuit on Friday, Fox News had already filed four motions to dismiss other legal action against its coverage. And anchor Eric Shawn interviewed a Dominion spokesperson on air in November.