I had several people ask me how I thought the jury ended up coming down on Gawker for 115 Million dollars in the Hulk Hogan verdict.
I can’t answer as far as the emotional damages of 65 Million but I can answer the economic damage part that amounted to 55 million.
The jury simply went to Vivid.com and got the price to join and view Vivid’s celebrity sex tapes( $4.95). They then multiplied that by the number of views the video has gotten on the Gawker website and viola 55 million dollars is the answer.
Today it was announced that punitive damages would be another 25 million, making the total verdict 140 million dollars, a sum that Gawker probably doesn’t have the resources to pay.
It is clear to anyone following the case that the jury wanted to send a very clear message to Gawker that this kind of behavior won’t be tolerated. From a legal perspective it is an interesting case that will likely be part of classroom studies for years to come.
From an appeals perspective Gawker has made clear it’s intention to appeal and in my opinion that appeal has a good chance to succeed. However distasteful you may find Gawker it is not reasonable to sacrifice the first amendment in order to punish Gawker.