Jury considering punitive damages in Hogan sex tape lawsuit
Ex pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan's lawyer asked jurors Monday to award even more in punitive damages against Gawker Media, after they hit the company with a $115 million judgment for publishing a sex video of Hulk Hogan. Gawker's lawyer pleaded that the existing verdict is already "debilitating" for the company.
Jurors in the sex tape lawsuit began deliberating about punitive damages after hearing brief statements from lawyers from Gawker and Hogan on Monday afternoon.
On Friday, the jury awarded Hogan $115 million for economic harm and emotional distress.
During closing arguments Monday, Hogan's lawyer Kenneth Turkel said Gawker Media's gross revenues in 2015 were $48.7 million and that founder Nick Denton has a total of $121 million, including a $3.6 million Manhattan condo. Gawker Media is worth $83 million, the lawyers said.
A.J. Daulerio, the then-Gawker editor who wrote the post that accompanied the article and the person who decided to post the edited video, has no assets, the lawyers said. They said Daulerio has $27,000 in student loan debt.
Turkel said the jury can decide on a punitive amount as both punishment to Gawker and a deterrent to other media companies.
Jurors have "an ability to send a message," Turkel said, adding that Gawker acted with reckless disregard when it posted an edited version of the sex video.
Michael Sullivan, representing Gawker, said the New York Media company has "heard your judgment and we take it very seriously."
The $115 million judgment "is punishment enough" and "is already far beyond their means."
"The amount of that verdict could already be debilitating for Gawker Media," Sullivan said.
"Your verdict will send a chill down the spine of writers, producers, and publishers," he added.
Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife. Hogan said he didn't know he was being taped. Whatever the jury decides on punitive damages, it's clear the case isn't over. Gawker has already said it would appeal.
Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife. Hogan said he didn't know he was being taped.
On Friday, Hogan took to Twitter, posting, "Told ya I was gonna slam another giant."
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