Tallahassee Journal

Erin Andrews awarded $55 million in civil case over video

Erin Andrews awarded $55 million in civil case over video

After an emotional trial centered on videos secretly taken of Erin Andrews, a Nashville jury on Monday awarded the television broadcaster $55 million, to be paid by her stalker, a local hotel’s management group and its owner. The trial often had Andrews in tears and she looked jury members in the eye as they entered the courtroom a final time to deliver their decision after seven hours of deliberation. Minutes later, after the verdict was read, she wiped away tears as she hugged and thanked some of them individually. A court staffer brought her a fresh box of tissues while her parents embraced her legal team.

“The support I’ve received from the people of Nashville has been overwhelming,” Andrews said in a statement posted on her Twitter account shortly after the decision. “I would also like to thank my family, friends and legal team. 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.” Andrews filed the lawsuit about six years ago against Michael David Barrett, a man who secretly recorded her through an altered peephole in her room at Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University in September 2008, and the hotel owner and operator.

She also sued Marriott International, but Circuit Judge Hamilton Gayden dismissed claims against the hotel giant in late January, saying that, among other reasons, the franchisor was not responsible for security at a local hotel. Jurors found Barrett 51 percent at fault in the case, which would mean he would have to pay 51 percent of the $55 million award. The jury said the hotel owner, West End Hotel Partners, and the hotel management company, Windsor Capital Group, also were at fault and were on the hook for the remaining 49 percent.

Mark Chalos, a Nashville attorney who has been analyzing the Andrews case for The Tennessean, said the decision showed “the jury realized that Ms. Andrews is the victim here and that Nashvillians recognize an injustice when they see it.” Andrews had sought as much as $75 million in damages. But Chalos and another expert said the verdict represented a significant victory for Andrews, and a stern warning to the hotel industry.