Howard Stern sued for airing private IRS conversation

By Wade Sheridan  |  Feb. 15, 2017 at 1:27 PM
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Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Howard Stern is being sued by Cape Cod resident Judith Barrigas after the radio host broadcast a private conversation she had with the IRS in 2015.

The incident occurred as Barrigas spoke with IRS Agent Jimmy Forsyth about a potential misapplication of her tax refund in 2014.

Forsyth had called into The Howard Stern Show on Sirius XM satellite radio and was unaware that his conversation could be heard by Stern and his millions of listeners.

"I started to receive phone calls and text messages from all over the country informing me that the information I was discussing with the IRS agent was being aired on The Howard Stern Show," Barrigas said to CBS Boston.

"As soon as I heard of this information I just started to quiver, and had what I would call an out-of-body experience," she continued. "I couldn't believe it at first I thought it was a joke."

Now Barrigas is suing the United States of America, Stern and the Howard Stern Production Company on grounds of unlawful invasion of privacy and negligence.

"Mr. Stern and The Stern Show were fully aware that they were broadcasting and disseminating Mrs. Barrigas' tax and personal information, yet failed to take any action to stop the broadcast," the suit filed Monday in Massachusetts federal court reads.

"Mr. Stern and The Stern Show joked about the publication and broadcast of Mrs. Barrigas' 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."

Barrigas claims in the suit that she "has difficulty sleeping and eating since the incident, and has sought treatment as a result."

The suit is seeking unspecified damages.

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