Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker – Aftermath of Hogan’s $140 million award

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor

Hulk Hogan (artist Travis Beaven © PWTorch)

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Aftermath – Thursday, April 28

Hulk Hogan’s chief attorney, David Houston, responded to Gawker’s statement on Wednesday claiming fraud in the March trial.

“We feel Gawker’s continued behavior at attempting to harm and embarrass Mr. Bollea with literally old news only proves the jury’s assessment and award against them was absolutely the correct thing to do,” Houston told Fox News. “Vindictive does not equal vindication and never will.”

Gawker claimed Hogan engaged in a “massive cover-up” during the trial and they believe the jury was not presented with proper evidence to make a fair ruling.

Fox News talked to two legal experts with different views. One attorney believes Gawker is playing a p.r. game trying to set up their legal appeal. The other attorney believes an appeals court has the power to over-turn the original ruling awarding Hogan $140 million “if the court finds that the facts, as alleged, are true.” So, other than adding more legal fees to their tab, it would not hurt Gawker to try to present a case for dismissal to go along with their petition for a new trial.

Aftermath – Tuesday/Wednesday, April 26/27

On Tuesday, the Circuit Court in Pinellas County, Florida ordered the case records be unsealed. On Wednesday, the 979-page document was released HERE by the Pinellas County Clerk.

Gawker simultaneously issued a statement believing they were wronged during the trial that saw Hogan awarded $140 million in total damages. Gawker is seeking a new trial, per a motion filed on April 4 attributed to Gawker Media, founder Nick Denton, and editor A.J. Daulerio.

PWTorch will have a detailed break down of the documents released later this week.

Aftermath – Thursday, April 14

– In a new sit-down interview, Gawker founder Nick Denton sounded very confident about the company’s appeal of the $140 million judgment awarded to Hulk Hogan in Florida court last month.

Denton talked on-camera to Fortune about the appeal, talking matter-of-factly about the company’s interpretation of the law to the point of dismissive about Hulk Hogan’s chances in the appeals process. Denton presented his view that Hogan’s lawsuit was not about Gawker releasing tape of Hogan engaged in sexual acts with Heather Clem, rather trying to block the release of racist verbiage contained in the tape. The focus of the trial was about the leaked tape, though, which Denton says they believe was a distraction tactic. (Also on Thursday, wrestling reporter David Bixenspan published a transcript of the racially-charged verbiage used by Hogan in his conversation with Heather at DeathandTaxesMag.com.)

Denton told Fortune that now that legal documents and records have been unsealed, they believe an appeals court will look at the case from a different perspective. Worth noting is what jurors said in their exit interviews that they focused on Gawker’s role in the legal battle, setting aside what Hogan said in the audio portion of the tape because they felt like he would not have said what he said if he knew he were being recorded, keeping the focus on whether Gawker should be charged with invasion of privacy. Whether or not an appeals court sees things the way the jury saw things remains to be seen.

– Meanwhile, Hulk Hogan’s camp is presenting a positive image to the entertainment media. E! News quoted a Hogan source that he has “seen an uptick” in work, including potential sponsorship deals following the jury awarding him victory over Gawker.

“People saw the true story and are happy to be in business with him,” E! quoted a Hogan source. “The companies he’s been working with for years have not wavered. LoanMart, for example, has stuck by him. He feels good. He feels like the verdict showed that people believed him. He feels good about his career and things overall.”

Outside of business, E! reported that Hogan is “just taking a breath” right now after the circus-like trial, while also doing a few wrestling interviews to campaign for a return to WWE.

Aftermath – Monday, April 11

Judge Pamela Campbell has agreed to unseal documents that were sealed during the Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker trial.

During a hearing Monday in Florida court, Judge Campbell said post-trial motions have been “unusual” and “crazy” as part of her decision to release “dozens” of unsealed documents. (New York Times Report)

The documents were requested by media such as the local Tampa Bay Times, CNN, AP, and other outlets seeking to examine evidence in the Hogan-Gawker legal proceedings.

Latest Aftermath

– Gawker filed legal documents seeking a new trial.

– Hulk Hogan’s side is accusing Gawker of moving assets off-shore. Hogan’s camp believes Gawker is trying to make their company appear to be worth less than it really it is, attempting to avoid paying the $140 million judgment (pending appeal).

Hogan’s attorney David Houston told the New York Post that they believe Gawker owner Nick Denton is “expatriating great sums of money to Eastern Europe, potentially to avoid taxation and creditor issues.”

Aftermath – Monday, April 4

– And, we’re back. Gawker’s legal team filed a motion in Florida court in Monday saying Gawker should only have to pay 1 percent of what was awarded to Hulk Hogan, reports the New York Post.

Gawker’s legal team is arguing they should not have to pay more than $1.875 million of the $140 million judgement awarded to Hogan.

In court papers, Gawker’s legal representatives claimed “there is substantial evidence that, in reaching its verdict as to both liability and damages, the jury was guided by passion and prejudice, rather than the pertinent facts and the law.”

Gawker specified they want the $60 million emotional damages reduced to $100,000, the $55 million compensatory damages reduced to $525,000, and the $25 million punitive damages reduced to $1.25 million.

Gawker also revealed that Gawker is worth $83 million, so the $140 million verdict “would be ruinous.”

Also, Gawker asked that the $100,000 damages assessed to A.J. Daulero, who wrote the article on Hogan, should be reduced to $100 because he is $27,000 in debt.

Gawker is now “beginning the process of challenging the jury’s verdict,” claiming key evidence was withheld in March’s trial.

– Meanwhile, one of Hogan’s lead attorney Charles Harder wrote a detailed guest editorial for the Hollywood Reporter detailing the $140 million verdict, how they won the judgment, mistakes by Gawker’s founder, and everything that went into the three-year process. (Full Article at HollywoodReporter.com)

FULL COVERAGE OF MARCH TRIAL

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