We've Got Hollywood Covered

Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker: Punitive Damages Phase Kicks Off

Jurors decide whether to add on any “punitive damages” to the $115 million award

A Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan $115 million from Gawker media on Friday, but everyone returns to court on Monday afternoon. The same jurors will decide whether to add on any “punitive damages” to Hogan’s already massive legal judgment.

The jury ruled that Hogan suffered severe emotional distress over the publication of segments of a tape that featured him having sex with a friend’s wife, and that his privacy was invaded by the online gossip site.

Leading entertainment attorney Bert Fields told TheWrap that the $115 million award might actually backfire during the appeals process.

“The award strikes me as being very, very high and perhaps the plaintiffs may be sorry they got that much, because an appellate court might be somewhat shocked by the amount of the award and thus take a tougher view on the First Amendment right,” Fields said.

“Judges are only human. To come in with a $115 million judgment is immediately going to create an emotional reaction,” he added. The $115 million award was even greater than the $100 million that Hogan had sought.

Hogan could end up with an even larger amount if the jury decides he deserves punitive damages. That phase of the legal proceeding is expected to last a few days.