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Tuesday 6 December 2016

Hulk Hogan awarded another £17m in sex tape lawsuit

Published 22/03/2016 | 01:11

Hulk Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife
Hulk Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife

A Florida jury has awarded a total of 25 million dollars (£17.3m) in punitive damages in the Hulk Hogan sex tape trial - on top of the 115 million dollars (£80m) awarded after a two week trial.

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The punitive damages were against Gawker Media with a 15 million dollars (£10.4m) judgment and its owner, Nick Denton, with 10 million dollars (£6.9m).

It also assessed 100,000 US dollars (£69,500)against A J Daulerio, the Gawker editor who decided to post the edited sex video and wrote the post that accompanied it.

Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend's wife. Hogan said he didn't know he was being taped.

Hogan's lawyer had asked jurors on Monday to add punitive damages to the 115 million dollar judgment. Gawker's lawyer pleaded that the existing verdict was already "debilitating" for the company.

During brief closing arguments, Hogan's lawyer Kenneth Turkel said Gawker Media's gross revenues in 2015 were 48.7 million dollars (£33.8m) and that founder Nick Denton has a total of 121 million dollars (£84.2m) , including a 3.6 million dollar (£2.5m) Manhattan condo. Gawker Media is worth 83 million dollars (£57.7m), the lawyers said.

Daulerio, the editor, has no assets, the lawyers said. They said Daulerio has 27,000 dollars (£18,000) in student loan debt.

Mr Turkel asked the jury to decide on a punitive amount as both punishment to Gawker and a deterrent to other media companies.

Jurors have "an ability to send a message," Mr Turkel said, adding that Gawker acted with reckless disregard when it posted an edited version of the sex video.

Michael Sullivan, representing Gawker, said the New York Media company has "heard your judgment and we take it very seriously".

The 115 million dollar judgment "is punishment enough" and "is already far beyond their means".

"The amount of that verdict could already be debilitating for Gawker Media," Mr Sullivan said.

"Your verdict will send a chill down the spine of writers, producers, and publishers," he added.

Despite the jury's decision on punitive damages, it is clear the case is far from over. Gawker has already said it would appeal.

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