Phone-Hacking Suits Against News Corp. Rise

The number of civil lawsuits filed against News Corp.’s U.K. newspaper unit by alleged phone-hacking victims has nearly doubled in recent weeks, adding to the legal challenges the media company faces.

The spike in suits, which now total 65, comes as claimants faced a recent deadline by which they needed to file if they wanted to be connected to a group of cases that are scheduled to be heard starting in January. The alleged victims — who include celebrities, politicians, victims of crime and others — generally claim that the company’s now-closed News of the World weekly tabloid newspaper breached their privacy by intercepting their voice-mail messages.

The latest tally of suits was detailed during a hearing in a London court Friday related to the phone-hacking claims. The company also has agreed to settle more cases, with five of those 65 suits now having been settled or otherwise resolved.

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