So, now Roger Ailes has invoked an arbitration clause in the lawsuit filed by Gretchen Carlson. I previously wrote about her lawsuit here. Of course, he would invoke arbitration. See Washington Post report. In arbitration, he can keep these unseemly allegations out of the press. Arbitration is private. Already, other women have come forward saying they too were propositioned by Mr. Ailes.
His lawyer filed a removal action, asking the case to be removed from New Jersey state court to New jersey federal court. He could just as easily have invoked arbitration in state court. But, probably because he expects a friendlier forum to arbitration, he first removed it to federal court. Ms. Carlson’s lawyers apparently anticipated this tactic. In the lawsuit, they named Roger Ailes, not Fox News as defendant. Although, in describing Mr. Ailes, they had to mention that he was and still is the CEO of Fox News. The agreement that includes the arbitration clause was between Gretchen Carlson and Fox News. In theory, the arbitration clause would only apply to Fox News, not to Roger Ailes. But, does the arbitration clause apply to the CEO of Fox News? That is what a judge will have to decide. Mr. Ailes’ lawyers apparently believe the federal judge will be more disposed to find the agreement also applies to the CEO of Fox News.
I cannot speak to New Jersey state law, or New York’s, but in most states, contract rules are interpreted strictly. It will be interesting if the employer can stretch “Fox News” big enough to include the CEO of Fox News.