Thirteen new claims this week against Rupert Murdoch’s empire, plus 24 last week, bring the total number of lawsuits seeking damages for phone hacking to at least 64 so far, including complaints from Princess Diana’s former butler, a 7/7 bombing hero, and Jude Law. Mark Lewis, the lawyer for some who were hacked, estimates that fewer than 5 percent of victims have been notified, and guesses that the company’s £20 million fund for settlements will soon be dry. Lewis, who once said the company would need more like £100 million, is now calling even that “a serious underestimate.” A January trial for five victims will likely set the precedent for how much News Corp. should pay, so settlements decided before that could prove extra-lucrative if the company is willing to “overpay to get rid of claimants,” as one media lawyer put it. If that’s the case, diving could soon be prohibited at the Murdoch money pit.
Lawsuits against NewsCorp.escalate [Bloomberg via Financial Post]