Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Justice is blind and maybe kinda stupid

My knowledge of how our justice system functions is limited to my participation as a juror in two criminal cases. I've never sued or been sued so I don't know how civil courts work. I'm pretty sure it's impossible to compare cases because no two are ever the same and that it's not a one-size-fits-all deal. With all of that said, I simply don't understand the disparity in the amounts of money awarded in the recent Erin Andrews and Hulk Hogan judgments.

Here's how my brain works...

THE PLAINTIFFS (the victims)
Erin Andrews - "Erin Jill Andrews (born May 4, 1978) is an American sportscaster and television personality. She currently hosts FOX College Football for Fox Sports, as well as Dancing with the Stars for ABC. Andrews was previously a co-host of College GameDay on ESPN and a contributor for Good Morning America on the ABC network. She also has an on-air presence at many major sporting events, including the Super Bowl and the World Series." - Wikipedia

Hulk Hogan - "Terry Gene Bollea (born August 11, 1953), better known by his ring name Hulk Hogan, is an American professional wrestler, actor, television personality, entrepreneur and rock bassist. Bollea enjoyed mainstream popularity in the 1980s and 1990s as the all-American character Hulk Hogan in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE), and as "Hollywood" Hulk Hogan', the villainous nWo leader, in World Championship Wrestling (WCW). A regular pay-per-views headliner in both organizations, Hogan closed the respective premier annual events of the WWF and WCW, WrestleMania and Starrcade, on multiple occasions. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. He was signed with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) from 2009 until 2013, where he was the on-screen General Manager and occasional wrestler. IGN described Hogan as "the most recognized wrestling star worldwide and the most popular wrestler of the '80s". Hogan is a twelve-time world champion; a six-time WWF/E World Heavyweight Champion and six-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion. He was the first wrestler to win consecutive Royal Rumbles, in 1990 and 1991." - Wikipedia

THE DEFENDANTS (the accused)
Andrews: Michael David Barrett, a 54-year-old man who followed Andrews around the country, gaining access to hotel rooms next to hers, altering the hotel door peepholes and shooting video of her changing clothes.
Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt hotel, negligent in allowing Barrett to reserve the room next to hers and rig her room’s peephole with a camera to record video.

Hogan: Gawker - A celebrity gossip web site that aired a sex video featuring Hogan and Heather Clem, the then-wife of radio personality Todd "Bubba the Love Sponge" Clem without permission.

Both Plaintiffs won their cases.

Andrews: Seeking $75 million, was awarded $55 million, with over $28 million apportioned to Barrett, who was found 51% at fault, and over $26 million from Windsor Group, the Marriott’s owner and manager, who was found 49% at fault.

Hogan: Seeking $100 million, was actually awarded $115 million upon completion of the trial. Gawker was hit with an additional $25 million in punitive fees on Monday.

Andrews' reasonable expectation of a level of basic privacy that would allow her to change clothes in a hotel room, was violated and she is unlikely to see much, if any, of the amount she was awarded, which was $20 million less than what she sought.

Hogan, knowingly or not, a married man himself at the time, was recorded having sex with the wife of a "friend" (at the time), which somehow ended up at a sleazy web site that reports sleazy celebrity news and was awarded $15 million more than he asked for.

Something that could happen to any person minding their own business at what is generally considered an established and respected brand of hotels is worth about a third of something that could only happen to someone with a certain level of notoriety who engages in a very specific activity that carries an obvious and inherent level of risk of exposure.
No judgment, but come on dumbass (okay, a little judgment).
Well, okay then.

1 comment:

jennifer anderson said...

when it rains it pours