Now here’s a great entry into the annals of “people who lucked into a potentially life-changing lawsuit:” Howard Stern and the entire federal government are being sued by one Judith Barrigas in an unprecedented case that Barrigas might just win.
According to the complaint Barrigas filed in Massachusetts federal court this past weekend, she called IRS tax agent Jimmy Forsythe in 2015 to work out an issue with her tax refund. She spent 45 minutes on the phone with Forsythe, discussing personal, identifying information and private financial issues. As the phone call was winding down, Barrigas started to receive a wave of text messages and phone calls from unknown people. It was at that point she learned that Forsythe, who was an avid Howard Stern Show fan, had called into the show and was placed on hold; While on hold, he used another phone line to talk with Barrigas. At some point, Stern answered Forsythe’s call, only to find the IRS agent was in the middle of talking with Barrigas, unaware he was now live on the show. Stern allowed the call to play long enough so that Barrigas’ phone number and other personal information was broadcast out to over 1.2 million people, and to this day, video and audio of the call remain online.
Barrigas now alleges that the incident has not only made her unable to sleep/eat regularly and caused her severe anxiety, but it’s also affected her ability to find work in her field, something that was previously never an issue.
This case will, no doubt, be a long and contentious one; We’re not likely to see the results anytime soon, unless Stern and the government decide that it’s just easier to throw a big chunk of change at Barrigas in hopes she’ll move on.
[H/T] The Hollywood Reporter