Erin Andrews wins $55 million verdict in stalking case

AP

Erin Andrews of FOX Sports has secured an eight-figure verdict against a man who shot videos of her through a peephole and the hotel where the conduct occurred.

The $55 million verdict will be split between Michael Barrett and the owners/operators of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University. The jury divided responsibility by assigning 51 percent of the fault to Barrett and 49 percent to the hotel. Under Tennessee law, the hotel will be responsible only for its share of the verdict. That’s likely the only money Andrews will get, beyond whatever her lawyers can extract from Barrett’s real estate holdings and other belongings.

Insurance could be available for the hotel’s liability. Barrett will have a difficult time securing insurance coverage under any policies he owned at the time, given the intentional and deliberate nature of his misconduct.

The verdict is subject to reduction by the presiding judge and be the Tennessee appeals courts. That happens routinely; the $2.86 million verdict in the notorious McDonald’s hot-coffee-was-too-hot case was reduced to $640,000 by the judge before it was resolved without further court proceedings. But it was the verdict not the lower amount that drew the attention.

If this verdict stands, the owners/operators of the hotel could be forced to declare bankruptcy or to essentially hand the keys to the properties to Andrews. That wouldn’t have been the case if lawyers had managed to keep the much more valuable Marriott corporate parent in the case.

“The support I’ve received from the people of Nashville has been overwhelming,” Andrews said on social media following the verdict. “I’ve been honored by all the support from victims around the world. Their outreach has helped me be able to stand up and hold accountable those whose job it is to protect everyone’s safety, security and privacy.”

As noted by the New York Daily News, one of the lawyers representing the hotel tried to suggest during cross examination that Andrews benefited from the leak of video taken of her by Barrett, saying that “your income has gone up substantially since this occurred.” The judge cut off the question, but the damage likely was done — for the defense.

That one question (along with the broader attitude it conveys) may explain the runaway nature of the verdict. Juries don’t issue awards that large unless they are very upset. It’s clear that, by the time the jury got the case, they were furious.

65 responses to “Erin Andrews wins $55 million verdict in stalking case

  1. What a dirt ball attorney to argue she had benefitted. It’s like a person breaks their back due to negligence at a construction site and becomes successful artist because they are out of work. The construction site can’t claim they suffered no loss and refuse to pay up.

  2. Good for her. The perv has to pay.
    Now, back to Peyton and his little incident …

  3. Of that $55 mil, only $27 mil is theoretically collectible. Her attorneys would get 40% plus costs. So she might net around $10 to $15 mil, but there are going to be a bunch of appeals that’s going to hold up that money forever and eat up her share of the judgment. She got the verdict she was looking for, I’d say she’ll end up settling later for around $5 mil in her pocket.

  4. Is 55MM enough?
    I mean she was humiliated.
    Thats worth at least 100 million I’d think.

    In fact, why stop there?
    How about the GNP of Sweden?

    In all seriousness, if there is no physical harm, and no mental torture (like being kidnapped) I can’t see paying more than 1MM. This is excessive and should be appealed.

  5. I can’t believe some people here actually have problems with this award. I’m glad she wasn’t doing anything in that video to cause her more embarrassment. And I agree with the person who said this judgment will be reduced significantly after appeals and payments to attorneys.

  6. So how much does she have to give the guy who recorded it? She’s still benefiting. Sad, but nonetheless true.

    And if she’s handed the keys to a hotel how many people lose their jobs? People who had nothing to do with anything. Great job Erin!

  7. You can’t make me believe this wasn’t an inside job…How could any hotel function without a valid policy protecting the confidentiality of ANY guest, much less a semi-famous one like Andrews. And [SPOILER] who poses and admires themselves in front of a mirror totally in the buff?

    Not to say that Andrews was wrong for doing whatever she wanted in her room, and not to say that she doesn’t have “admirable” qualities, but its just a bit convenient that while she is checking out her nooks and crannies, some guy happens to be recording it through a peephole. The whole thing just reeks of Kim Kardashian, and how her “leaked” sex tape catapulted her to absurdly unearned financial success.

    Color me jaded.

  8. That’s some justice. How disgusting for the defense to say she “benefited” from this violation. Nice way to get sympathy from a jury. Good for Erin!!!

  9. Why is it that I’m not remotely surprised by the number of comments implying Andrews is the villain and not the victim?

    I like how the McDonald’s hot coffee case was carefully slipped into the analysis. It artfully avoided the overt implication that Andrews filed a nuisance lawsuit. Just enough information for readers to connect the dots and assume they came up to that conclusion on their own. Nicely done.

    Part of the purpose of this kind of verdict is to send a message and make sure it never happens again. It’s sort of like capital punishment, except verdicts like this actually act as a deterrent.

  10. Let’s not forget that the hotel bigwig who showed the tape — err, ‘allowed the tape to be shown briefly’ to friends at a restaurant for their amusement. (Until a server told them to stop it.)

    That jackhole should be sued on his own.

  11. Wow, the collective IQ on this page must be in the double digits! For a little empathy try inserting your mother or little sister into the situation… would you want them being illegally filmed through a hole in the wall and that vid posted on Youtube for all to see? Geesh, get a clue, people.

  12. ESPNs rpt on this, like this blog post, does not mention that ESPN forced Ms Andrews to do an on air interview about this invasion of privacy in order to prove it wasnt a morbid PR stunt of hers.

  13. She is entitled to what she got but I doubt she could get half a dollar out of Fiddy Cent who she shot down hard at the Daytona 500 a few years back during an interview.

  14. She deserves the award… BUT….You and the boyfriend drink your faces off here in Gilbert laughing about the incident. Yeah I know imagine that… Now give 50% to abused women’s shelter and the other half to feed the habit for you and Stoll

  15. I hope the amount gets reduced to something reasonable. The fact that they gave out her room number was bad and they need to be held responsible. I was thinking about 1/10th of the amount given. Somewhere between 400-600K, plus attorney costs would be fair.

    I haven’t seen the video but the trust/invasion of her privacy was certainly breached and would not have if the hotel had properly kept her room number a secret or they had proper security in the hallway present.

  16. I have a lot of trouble believing that Erin Andrews would knowingly subject herself to being videotaped in her hotel room solely as a publicity stunt and to make money off of it.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have trouble believing that a lot of commenters here are ready to believe that she did and that this was a travesty of justice.

    The money award is secondary: Andrews won’t see any of that money for a long, long time, if ever. No one deserves to go through that ordeal without having someone being held responsible.

  17. The American way is to get excited when you can feign your disdain for something bad that happened to you. Oh, it’s for sure a terrible thing but think for one second. You’ve been wronged more in your life than Erin was in this incident. Where’s your 55 mil?

    I would bet every single thing I own she was giddy when this happened to her so she could profit by pretending how outraged she was.

  18. Hey idiots who are slamming the jury: if your wife, daughter or sister was videotaped like that and won $55m would you be here attacking it?

  19. Waytogo Erin! If that scumbag never has two nickels to rub rub together again — it’ll be too soon!

    And even if Marriott has insurance to pay the claim — it’s a sting they’ll be feeling for a long while.

    I’m proud and impressed with you for seeing this through.

    You’re a strong woman. Waytogo!

    You’ve got the judgment — now get out there and collect it!

  20. No one deserves that kind of money, something reasonable would make sense, think if you the common person same thing happen you might get a hundred grand if you’re lucky. I think an exorbitant amount just become the cash grab rather than a true seeking of justice.

  21. To all you White Knights defending this ridiculous sum, please feel free to tell us about a similar judgment under such a fact pattern. I’ll wait until you complete your JD…and bachelors…and associates degrees. Idiots.

  22. After that suicidally stupid question, the hotel’s legal team should have immediately asked for a recess and offered a settlement. But apparently they were as stupid as that particular lawyer. Or, shared that same broad attitude noted in the article.

  23. canetic says:
    Mar 7, 2016 9:39 PM
    Of that $55 mil, only $27 mil is theoretically collectible. Her attorneys would get 40% plus costs. So she might net around $10 to $15 mil, but there are going to be a bunch of appeals that’s going to hold up that money forever and eat up her share of the judgment. She got the verdict she was looking for, I’d say she’ll end up settling later for around $5 mil in her pocket.

    31 5
    Report comment

    ——–

    Don’t know TN law regulating the practice of attorneys but generally the max contingent fee is 1/3 plus expenses. Expenses are no doubt stacking up with such a high profile matter and all the expert witnesses to testify regarding damages, but they don’t get 40 out of what they collect unless TN diverges from the norm.

    The real work is always in collecting on a judgment or appeals. The jury gave what seems like an absurd monetary award but I’m not privy to the evidence (of which the expert testimony would be most relevant towards). You may have a judgment in your hot hands but it is worthless until you start collecting.

  24. I can’t imagine the pain this caused her. Being on the news as a sports reporter and to have the hotel just give out her room number. Then the fact this whackjob went through the extreme to remove peep hole and film her. Just sick. Think of this being a family member; you’re sister etc. I’m glad she got paid.

  25. The fact that she’s a public personality only reinforces the large settlement as opposed to reducing it. Can you imagine being embarrassed like that, and then having to face it on a daily basis? As she said during a very emotional testimony, anytime she’s at any large sports event she has to deal with some jerk who yells about her being naked, and she’s reminded of the embarrassment all over again.

    I’m happy she got a settlement like this. And I sure to God hope that this serves to warn anyone else who may try to do something like this to think twice about it.

  26. I fail to understand how the creepy dude is only considered 51% at fault for this. Yeah, the hotel messed up too, but the perv is the main bad guy here.

  27. 10 to 1 the dopes criticizing Andrews and marginalizing what she went through have watched that video.

  28. For the morons here:
    The hotel didn’t give out her room number. The perp called the front desk from a hotel kitchen phone, asked to speak with Andrews and then the phone he was using identified Erin’s room number when they patched him through.
    I fail to see what the hotel did wrong, seriously.

  29. Wow.
    Granted this is a football (knuckledragger) site, but these cowardly & angry male comments remind me how close we really might be to the ISIS freaks we supposedly abhor.

    Just another day losing faith in humanity.

  30. I just hope Michael Barrett does not turn out to be a member of free Brady movement aka Brady’s Internet army. We don’t need anymore embarrassment.

  31. After what happened to the actress Rebecca Schaeffer years back, who with common sense would give out the room number of ANYONE without the consent of the one whose number was being asked for?

    Marriott is reasonably at fault for not providing employees with a protocol for room requests like this – since the Schaeffer murder, this should have been foreseeable. But it is the perv who should pay the most – his diet the rest of his life should be baloney sandwiches and water, for as long as he earns money and then draws a pension and SS check.

  32. ‘As noted by the New York Daily News, one of the lawyers representing the hotel tried to suggest during cross examination that Andrews benefited from the leak of video taken of her by Barrett, saying that “your income has gone up substantially since this occurred.” The judge cut off the question, but the damage likely was done — for the defense.’ Wow……that’s right along the same lines you guys offered for the Peyton Manning defense. Shame the owner wasn’t a football player.

  33. “As noted by the New York Daily News, one of the lawyers representing the hotel tried to suggest during cross examination that Andrews benefited from the leak of video taken of her by Barrett, saying that “your income has gone up substantially since this occurred.”

    ———————————————————–

    That question alone merits a malpractice claim by Marriott against the lawyer and the law firm that provided the representation. A trial lawyer should know better, particularly if there were women on the jury.

    Had the judge permitted Erin to answer, the proper response would have been, “How dare you. Have you no shame?”

  34. Anyone who has a BRAIN in their head knows the plaintiffs in this case will see a minimal amount of this $$$. The point of this horrendous story is that people HAVE a RIGHT to their PRIVACY in their OWN hotel room for crying out loud!!!! Are you freaking kidding me everyone who doesn’t see the how wrong this is???????????????? I mean I have seen some pretty ridiculous posts over time, but some of these are just, well, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Good for you, Erin, I do hope your life gets back on track.

  35. For the rest of her life through no fault of her own; family, friends, her future children, their friends, stalkers and anyone else can just go to the internet and watch ten minutes of her completely naked….. That has to be a burden for the rest of her life… I really feel bad for her. Not sure about 55 million but a jury thought so… That being said…I wish it would happen to me next!

  36. jimmysee says:

    Waytogo Erin! If that scumbag never has two nickels to rub rub together again — it’ll be too soon!

    And even if Marriott has insurance to pay the claim — it’s a sting they’ll be feeling for a long while.
    ***************************************

    You fail to comprehend the reality of the situation.

    Erin was wronged. Total agreement that this should not have happened.

    She’ll never see a dime from the perv, so that amount is just BS.

    As to the amount that will come from Marriott’s insurance company – where does the insurance company get the money to pay the judgement?

    That’s right, from people paying premiums. You may be paying part of that settlement yourself.

    Erin is entitled to something for her embarrassment and the violation of her privacy. But the amount of the lawsuit was just ridiculous and the award, although less than she was seeking, is also ridiculous.

    I think if she would have asked Marriott to make a $5,000,000.00 donation towards the charity of her choice – this issue could have been resolved in a matter of minutes – without any attorney’s making enough money to buy themselves another yacht.

  37. Some of you people on here complaining that she is getting too much money, would think different if it was your wife or daughter that had been shown naked to the world by a piece of perverted trash! I don’t care how rich or famous she is. She is not a porn star so it has to be very upsetting for her.

  38. I don’t think the defenses’ line of questioning was unreasonable. After all, can you think of any other reason we all know the name Kim Kardashian?

  39. Look I don’t mind Erin Andrews getting paid for some perv looking through a peep hole at her in the nude because her privacy was violated, but 55 million dollars? Come on if it were anyone else that wasn’t famous they’d be lucky to get a couple hundred thousand dollars. The perv was still wrong for doing it, but the money being given to Erin Andrews is absolutely ridiculous although the defense’s claim that she benefited from the video is probably what got the money up so high.

  40. So she got a little embarrassed and gets $55 million. Wow. It’s so great since she totally needs it.

    If this were really about justice(and not money), she’d donate the entire thing to people who actually need it.

  41. People saying $55 million is too much don’t seem to understand that she will never get anywhere close to that, and no matter how much the judgment was for, she wouldn’t get anywhere close to that, either. That’s precisely WHY the judgment was so high…so that when all is said and done, she at least gets SOMEthing of value instead of a token payment.

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