Howard Stern. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Howard Stern. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Howard Stern is being sued for unlawful invasion of privacy and negligence after a Massachusetts woman’s query call to the IRS went live on the shock jock’s Sirius XM satellite radio show.

Judith Barrigas’ amended lawsuit against Howard Stern. (PDF)
“Perhaps the lines got crossed, or perhaps he used two different phones and the first picked up audio from the second,” reports The Washington Post. “Either way, the producers at ‘The Howard Stern Show’ found themselves listening” to the private call between agent Jimmy Forsyth and Judith Barrigas.

Before taking Barrigas’ call on May 19, 2015, about her tax refund for year 2014, Forsyth had phoned into the show.

“He was placed on hold by a producer and remained in that limbo when he took Barrigas’ call on a different line,” the Post said.

Barrigas told Boston’s WBZ radio what happened when she began getting calls and texts of her call being aired live: “As soon as I heard of this information I just started to quiver, and had what I would call an out-of-body experience. I couldn’t believe it. At first I thought it was a joke.”

“Only upon notice from WCVB did the IRS begin an investigation into the matter and place Agent Forsythe on administrative leave,” says a lawsuit filed Monday in Massachusetts District Court in Boston.

“My phone number is out there, my personal conversation, and I just feel terribly violated, and I feel like I’m in jeopardy that my credit information might be out there and I’m just totally devastated,” she told the station.

Barrigas “has had difficulty sleeping and eating … and has sought treatment as a result,” says the suit, which also targets the U.S. government.

“Mr. Stern and The Stern Show joked about the publication and broadcast of Mrs. Barrigas’s tax and personal information and conversation with the IRS’s Agent Forsythe and used the broadcast and the humiliation of Mrs. Barrigas as a source of amusement for their listeners,” the suit says.

In an amended complaint filed Wednesday, Barrages’ lawyer Sol Cohen says: “To this day, Mrs. Barrigas’s phone call with Agent Forsythe may be accessed on the internet in full or in part and thus continues to be publicly broadcast.”

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