In her suit filed on Monday in MA federal court, Judith Barrigas insisted she was on the phone with the IRS service center in May 2015 talking through the potential misapplication of her tax refund, when IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe called the 63-year-old celebrity radio jockey's SiriusXM show on another line during their conversation.
"While on the phone with Agent Forsythe, Mrs. Barrigas suddenly began to receive a barrage of text messages and phone calls from unknown callers/individuals", according to the lawsuit. "The text messages were informing Mrs. Barrigas that her personal information and phone number was being aired live on The Stern Show".
She says it all started on May 19, 2015, when she called the IRS to discuss a private tax matter. Barrigas is suing both Stern and the IRS, saying personal information including her phone number and tax details were shared with Stern's listeners.
Barrigas is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
Before the two conversation, Forsythe had called into "The Howard Stern Show" on another telephone line. "At first I thought it was a joke". While this tax conversation was ongoing, The Stern Show realized they had a caller on hold that was preoccupied doing something else.
"We are aware of this troubling situation, and we are now reviewing the matter", said the IRS. The IRS says it doesn't comment on pending litigation but takes the confidentiality of taxpayer information very seriously. In it, Stern can be heard yelling "Jimmy!" seemingly in an attempt to get the IRS agent's attention, while co-host Robin Quivers says, "If he's working we can't interrupt him".
As of early Wednesday, neither the Howard Stern Production Company nor the IRS have released a statement or responded to media requests regarding the lawsuit.