A woman whose phone conversation with an IRS agent was aired live on the Howard Stern Show is now suing the show for "outrageous violation" of her privacy as well as revealing her personal identity and tax information.
The woman, Judith Barrigas, has filed a federal lawsuit in Massachusetts over the phone call that was aired in May 2015.
According to the lawsuit, Barrigas called the IRS's service center on May 19, 2015, to discuss a pending tax issue and spoke to Jimmy Forsythe, an IRS agent.
Before Barrigas' phone call got connected, Forsythe had called into the Howard Stern Show as a listener using another phone line. While on hold, Forsythe took Barrigas' call and spent nearly 45 minutes talking to her about her tax case.
According to Barrigas, the Stern Show producers overheard her conversation with Forsythe and decided to air the conversation live on satellite radio to about 1.2 million listeners worldwide.
While on the phone call, Barrigas said she suddenly received a barrage of text messages and phone calls from unknown callers and individuals. The text messages informed Barrigas that her personal information and phone number was being aired live on the Stern Show.
The lawsuit says, "Stern and the Stern Show were fully aware that they were broadcasting and disseminating Mrs. Barrigas's tax and personal information, yet failed to take any action to stop the broadcast."
According to Barrigas, the "outrageous violation" of her privacy resulted in her having difficulty finding employment and she also suffered from anxiety, loss of sleep and irregular eating patterns.
Barrigas is suing the U.S. government, Howard Stern Production Company and Howard Stern. She is suing the government under the Federal Tort Claims Act.
by RTT Staff Writer
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