With Hulk Hogan being awarded $115 million in compensatory damages ($55 million for economic injury and $60 million for emotional distress) against Gawker Media last Friday, all that was left to be determined in their trial was the level of punitive damages to be tacked on top of that award.
Judge Pamela Campbell, who for much of the trial had ruled favourably towards Hogan's lawyers, instructed the jurors that they couldn't award damages that would financially destroy or bankrupt any of the defendants. They were asked to consider the net worth of Gawker, its founder Nick Denton and former editor A.J. Daulerio in their decision. With the company being valued at $83 million, Denton being worth $121 million and Daulerio having no assets, whilst owing $27,000 in student loans (for a total of just over $200 million), the jurors didn't have much wiggle room in terms of the amount of punitive damages they could award.
Thus, it wasn't too surprising that the jury went relatively easy on the defendants this time around. They awarded Hogan an extra $25.1 million in punitive damages, of which Gawker Media will have to pay $15 million, Denton will have to pay $10 million and Daulerio will have to pay $100,000.
Thus, Hogan's total winnings comes to $140.1 million. Well, if he can hold onto it all after the inevitable appeals process.
Here's some reaction to the decision:
Even Hogan’s attorneys said they couldn’t recommend the jury award punitive damages against Daulerio.— Peter Sterne (@petersterne) March 21, 2016
To receive automatic stays, Gawker would have to post a $50M bond, Denton $10M bond, Daulerio $100k bond. #hulkvsgawk— Peter Sterne (@petersterne) March 21, 2016
One juror spoke to the media. She said she had no sympathy for Gawker, and watching the video cemented her decision. #hulkvsgawk— Tom Kludt (@TomKludt) March 21, 2016
Stevens sheepishly admitted to the swarm of reporters that tho she respects the 1st Amend., she thinks it has limits. #hulkvsgawk— Katie Mettler (@kemettler) March 21, 2016
Stevens: "I hope wherever it goes it can continue on the ground we set." She hopes this sets precedent for future privacy cases #hulkvsgawk— Katie Mettler (@kemettler) March 21, 2016
"We made history today because I think we protected a lot of people from maybe going through what I went through."— Anna Phillips (@annamphillips) March 21, 2016
- Hulk Hogan #hulkvsgawk