The Tennessee verdict in the Erin Andrews’s civil lawsuit against a hotel group and the man who stalked her in 2008 was a staggering $55 million!
Many folks I talked to said something like, “Fine, film me and post it on the Internet and–for just a couple million bucks–I will be happy!”
The stalker, Michael David Barrett, a former insurance company executive, managed to get her room number and then film her nude through the peephole in her hotel door. Then, after a failed attempt to sell the film, it wound up going viral on the Internet, where over 17 million people watched it. He did time in prison for this.
Ms. Andrews never knows who has seen it and who hasn’t. She was emotionally affected by the events, and spent time and money trying to get the video offline.
The pervert was found by Nashville jurors to be 51% liable for the $55 million award. He is unlikely to pay a cent. West End Hotel Partners, the hotel owner, and Windsor Capital Group, the hotel management company, are responsible for the other 49%, and they will likely settle for far less than $26,950,000 they owe.
Ms. Andrews had to endure the defense attorneys’ strategy that argued her career actually flourished as a result of the video. I do not think the jury liked that one little bit.
She was embarrassed because of assumptions people made as well. “Everybody thought it was a publicity stunt. That ripped me apart, ” she testified.
Jury members really wanted to make a point. “We were sending a message out to the hotels and the chains to do better than what they’ve done,” explained one juror.
Andrews repeatedly blamed the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt for giving out her hotel room number to the stalker. She further felt violated that they did not reveal to her that the stalker had actually asked to be put in a room next to hers. While the hotel companies denied this, it appears that the jurors blamed the hotel.
I recently have noticed that hotel front desk clerks no longer state my room number out loud, and just scrawl the number down on the room key packet.
Under so-called “tort reform” laws now in effect in Tennessee, this verdict could not have been handed down for over $750,000 currently. Legislators in Tennessee have thus decided all cases ever to occur in Tennessee in the future, all without hearing one fact!
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