A jury awarded sportscaster and TV personality Erin Andrews $ 55 million in damages in a civil suit against a stalker and a Nashville, Tennessee Marriott that gave him a room right next to hers in 2008. Andrews initially sought $ 75 million and this case stems from the 2009 release of a video that shows Andrews naked in her hotel room.
It was taken by Michael David Barrett, who has since served a criminal sentence for stalking, and now owes a hefty damages award he probably will not be able to pay. This may not be the end of the story, however, as an appeal is still possible, according to ABC News.
More Barrett, Less Marriott
The trial lasted about a week, with Andrews testifying that she was traumatized by the release of a video showing her in her hotel room. Barrett called the Marriott in Nashville and requested a room right next to hers — at the time Andrews was a sportscaster with ESPN. She now works for Fox.
During the trial, defense attorneys questioned Andrews about the endorsement deals and contracts she has gotten since the video went viral, implying that her career actually benefited from its release. Andrews, for her part, cried when she spoke of how she felt after the video was made public and about having to discuss it on television at ESPN’s bidding.
The jury apparently found Andrews credible and did not hold her many luicrative endorsement deals against her. Ultimately, the jury found that Michael David Barrett was slightly more responsible than the hotel – 51 percent. He owes Andrews $ 28 million while the hotel, which is only 49 percent responsible, will have to pay her $ 26 million.
Collecting on the Judgment
The likelihood that Andrews will ultimately recover anything from Barrett seems slim. He decided to film her because he needed money and wanted to sell the stalking video. That did not quite work out and he has paid a high price for this scheme, pleading guilty to felony stalking, serving time in prison, and now this. He probably will not be able to pay but he did testify that he was not proud of what he did to Andrews.
There is still no word on whether the defense will appeal this case. For today at least, it seems the saga of the Erin Andrews viral video is at long last behind her.
- Erin Andrews Lawsuit: Dispute Over Employment, Medical Records (FindLaw’s Celebrity Justice)
- Erin Andrews Peephole Charges and Interstate Stalking (FindLaw Blotter)
- Details on State Stalking Laws (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)
- Stalking Laws State-by-State (FindLaw’s Learn About the Law)