NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A jury of seven women and five men awarded Erin Andrews $55 million after two weeks of trial in the high-profile Peeping Tom case involving a Nashville Marriott hotel.
Both her stalker, Michael Barrett, and the hotel’s management group and owner, The Windsor Capital Group, were found liable Monday.
The jury deliberated for over seven hours, finding Barrett holds 51 percent of the liability and the Windsor Capital 49 percent. Extrapolated, that turns out to be a judgment for $28.05 against Barrett and $26.95 million against Windsor Capital.
After the verdict, Erin Andrews issued a statement via her Twitter, saying:
I would like to thank the Nashville court, the court personnel and the jury for their service. The support I’ve received from the people of Nashville has been overwhelming. 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.
Local attorney David Raybin, who is not affiliated with the case but has argued dozens of civil cases like this, weighed in on whether he thought the verdict was fair.
“I think it was a fair verdict,” he said. “The damages were certainly significant, but this was a horrendous invasion of privacy.”
Raybin watched the case closely and said the lawyers representing the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt made a costly mistake.
“The hotel made a serious error in going after her as if this somehow was a good thing for her,” he explained, later adding, “To attack her in the fashion they did, it was mean-spirited in my view, and I think the jury punished them for it.”
That punishment was 49 percent of the $55 million judgment, coming in at $26,950,000.
And while the hotel may appeal the verdict, Raybin believes it will stand. But whether or not Andrews will see the remaining $28.05 million from Barrett is a different story.
“Whatever little money he might make, she can garnish his wages, get a percentage of that for the rest of his life, but I think the money she gets out of him will be minimal,” Rabin explained.
The timing of the 2008 incident also contributed to the large amount awarded to Andrews.
Raybin explained that in 2011, Tennessee passed a tort reform law limiting the maximum amount of money a victim like Andrews could get to only $750,000.
But since Andrews was secretly recorded by her stalker in 2008, before the change in law, there was no limit on damages.
So if the hotel’s attorneys knew they could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars, why didn’t they settle?
“I’m sure they made a very good attempt to resolve the case with an out of court settlement; they just couldn’t get together on the numbers,” Raybin added.
News 2 also asked the attorney if having to $26 million could bankrupt the hotel. Raybin said no, and that the Marriott will have liability insurance, which would cover cases like these.