Jury awards Erin Andrews $55 million in peephole video lawsuit

Sports journalist Erin Andrews has been awarded US$55 million (AU$74million) in her civil lawsuit over the secret recording and release of a video showing her naked during a hotel stay.

 

The sportscaster's original suit asked for US$75 million (AU$100 million) from the owner and operator of the Nashville, Tennessee, hotel where she was staying, and Michael David Barrett, the stalker.

He reportedly pleaded guilty to using a hacksaw to tamper with her room's peephole and recording the video in 2008.

West End Hotel Partners, which owns and operates that Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University, has said Barrett's criminal actions were his responsibility, not theirs.

Andrews in her role as a sportscaster. Image: Getty

Erin Andrews posted this on Twitter after the judgement. Photo: Twitter

Michael David Barrett served time in jail for filming the video. Photo: Supplied

It took the jury seven hours to deliberate the case and come to a conclusion that Barrett should pay $28 million, while another $26.75 million should come from hotel operator West End Hotel Partners.

The success of the trial depended on whether or not it could be proved the managers of the Nashville Marriott should be held liable for Barrett's actions.

Defense attorneys told the court that it was a 'freak occurrence' that the hotel couldn't have prevented, and that Barrett was solely to blame for the offence.


The prosecution alleged in the case that hotel staff told Barrett which room Andrews was staying and allowed him to book a room next to hers.

Andrews' lawyer Bruce Broillet argued that the hotel 'enabled' Barrett because she was not informed that he had requested the room.

“The case against Marriott has to do with their overwhelming negligence in putting Barrett in a position to be able to do what he did,” Broillet said.

Andrews, 37, testified last week over the course of two days and broke down in tears at several points in talking about the effect the 2009 release of the video online has had on her personal life.

The closing arguments for both sides ended on Friday and the jurors were sent into deliberations.

Andrews said during the trial that the video still haunts her: "I think about it every day."

During the trial it was revealed by a forensic computer expert that an estimated 16.8million people had seen the video.

Andrews who worked for ESPN at the time of the video but now works for Fox Sports, said, "It's on the Internet now and I've been told it's going to be on the Internet until I die."

Barrett was earlier convicted in criminal court of stalking Andrews and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

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