Remember that story about Fox sports reporter Erin Andrews who filed a lawsuit against a stalker who had a hotel room next to her and secretly recorded a nude video? Deliberations have concluded and they have found that both the hotel company and the stalker shared in the blame. The panel concluded yesterday that the stalker was responsible for 51 per cent of the verdict and the two hotel companies should share the rest, which is nearly $27 million.
The jury heard directly from Andrews, who testified that she was humiliated and suffers from depression as a result of the video, which has been viewed by millions of people online. They also heard from her parents. She had originally sought $75 million.
An FBI investigation would later reveal that Michael David Barrett shot videos in hotels in Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, and posted them online. The trial focused on the video shot in 2008 at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt. Barrett shot about 4 1/2 minutes of nude video of Andrews while she was inside a room that was in an alcove off a main hallway. The video was played for jurors.
On Friday, Davidson County Circuit Court Judge Hamilton Gayden found Barrett at fault and left it up to jurors to decide if the hotel owner, West End Hotel Partners, and former operator, Windsor Capital Group, should share any responsibility. The hotel is a franchise and Marriott was not part of the trial.
Attorneys for the companies argued that while what happened to Andrews was awful, the stalker should be the only one to blame because he was a determined criminal. The attorneys also suggested that Andrews’ rise in her career showed she did not suffer severe and permanent distress.
After the verdict, they said they were disappointed and not sure if they would appeal. They noted their co-operation in the FBI investigation and said the case had changed the hotel industry to make rooms more secure.
Andrews said her stalker’s arrest and imprisonment did not make the nightmare go away and she still gets harrassment on places like social media. Barrett (a Chicago-area insurance company executive who frequently travelled around the country ), pleaded guilty to stalking Andrews, altering hotel room peepholes and taking nude videos of her. He was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison. He did not appear at the trial.
Andrews has maintained that someone at the hotel gave out her room number to Barrett and honoured his request to be placed near hear. She said no one ever told her that he asked to be in an adjoining or connecting room. If she had known she says she would have called police.
In Barrett’s videotaped deposition, he said he alone was to blame and that he had guessed that she would be at the hotel as it was the closest one to the Vanderbilt football game she was covering. When contacting the hotel he pretended to be in a group with Andrews.
Barrett said he posted the recordings online after a celebrity gossip website refused to buy them. The only reason he picked Andrews, he said, was because she was popular and trending on Yahoo.
To receive similar content, “Like” us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/niagarabuzz.ca