In 2015, IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe called into Howard Stern’s radio show hoping to get some airtime with the one-of-a-kind personality. However, the phone call turned out to have not two sides on the line, but three.
Forsythe was also on the phone with a woman named Judith Barrigas, who had phoned the IRS service center in an attempt to understand how the agency had divvied out her liability claims the previous year.
Placed on hold by Stern, Forsythe began answering all of Barrigas’ questions, though, unbeknownst to Forsythe and Barrigas, a member of Stern’s staff managed to pick up the audio between the two. The decision was made to air the 45-minute long conversation, in which Barrigas divulged personal tax information as well as her phone number.
Under the Federal Tort Claims Act, Barrigas is suing the United States government under the pretenses of an unlawful disclosure of tax returns. As well, Barrigas has taken the case one step further, taking Stern to court for negligence.
According to the court documents, Barrigas is suing Stern and other members of the show believing that “The defendants breached their duty of reasonable care by broadcasting the private phone conversation between Mrs. Barrigas and the IRS on May 19, 2015, and thereby publicly disseminating private tax return and identity information of Mrs. Barrigas’ to over one million people worldwide.”
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