U.S. Second Circuit - The FindLaw 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals Opinion Summaries Blog

Ex-Fox News VP's Lawsuit Dismissed and Then Some

It's bad enough to lose a case, but when the court is upset with your attorney, it's worse.

That's what happened in Cortes v. 21st Century Fox America. The U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals did more than rule against the appellant; it set a hearing for monetary sanctions against his attorney.

The appeals court said the claims were "irrelevant, absurd, and/or scurrilous." The only thing that could make things worse is if it ended up on television.

Fox News

Francisco Cortes, the plaintiff and appellant, is a former vice president at Fox News Latino. He sued the company, claiming he was the scapegoat in a case that alleged he sexually assaulted an on-air contributor.

Fox paid $2.5 million to settle the assault case confidentially, but Cortes sued for fraud and defamation after the settlement leaked. A judge dismissed his case, and he appealed.

The Second Circuit said the appellant's brief was "patently frivolous." The Hollywood Reporter, which is used to reviewing fiction, said it was "bizarre."

"Cortes's rambling brief on appeal consists largely of new and irrelevant factual allegations that a prominent Fox personality was one of the redacted signatories to the Agreement," the appeals panel said.

Sean Hannity

The "prominent Fox personality" is Sean Hannity, who is news himself after he was identified as a client of Michael Cohen, the former attorney for Donald Trump.

According to reports, Cortes was trying to drag Hannity into the mix because he had "taken out loans totaling $2.5 million." The appeals court said, "What?"

Actually, the appeals court said the argument had "not the slightest bearing" on the issue in the case. The judges gave J.A. Sanchez-Dorta 30 days to explain himself or pay for filing a frivolous appeal.

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