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Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker Trial Aftermath – June 2016
Week of June 20 Updates
June 24 Update: Hulk Hogan was appointed the head of the “Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors” in Gawker’s bankruptcy proceedings in New York court.
As first reported by Bloomberg, Hogan is joined by other creditors on the committee seeking payment of damages against Gawker.
The one-page filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Southern District of New York noted that Hogan and two other plaintiffs, Shiva Ayyadurai and Ashley A. Terrill, are “willing to serve” on the committee and were approved by U.S. Trustee William Harrington.
– The next court hearing is Monday morning (June 27) at the Bankruptcy Court in New York City.
Judge Stuart Bernstein has scheduled a hearing pertinent to Gawker and all debtors, which includes Hogan.
The two items on the agenda are “Contested Matters – Sale Motion” and “Uncontested Matters – Critical Vendors Motion.”
Concerning the first item, the parties will review Hogan’s camp filing an order challenging Gawker’s auction proceedings.
Concerning the second item, the parties will review Gawker’s motion on June 13 requesting they be allowed to prioritize pre-existing claims from “critical vendors and foreign vendors” that arose prior to the bankruptcy proceedings.
– Also on Friday, Gawker submitted a response to Hogan’s “limited objection” filing on Monday, where Hogan’s camp objected to Gawker’s bidding process during the bankruptcy proceedings.
Gawker’s response is summed as: “The debtors (Gawker) respectfully request that this Court overrule the Limited Objection, grant the relief sought in the Sale Motion, and enter the Bidding Procedures.”
The “sale motion” will be dealt with on Monday with Judge Bernstein, according to the agenda. The specific item is whether the court will authorize the “sale of substantially all of the debtors’s assets free and clear of all claims, liens, rights, interests, and encumbrances.” This relates to what Hogan’s camp objected to, expressing concern about collecting the $140 million debt, pending appeal.
– June 20 Update: Hulk Hogan’s attorneys filed a challenge to Gawker’s auction proceedings, arguing that the potential sale to a publisher such as Ziff Davis could negatively impact Hogan’s ability to collect on a $140 million judgment, reports the Wall Street Journal.
The jury’s ruling, which was upheld by Judge Pamela Campbell in the Florida circuit court, is still pending appeal in the Florida appeals court. However, Hogan’s camp is looking to ensure it will be able to collect the current debt in the event of Gawker being sold when the auction officially takes place in New York bankruptcy later this month.
Back in Florida court, Hogan’s attorneys attached the New York court’s temporary restraining order back to the original lawsuit, Gawker’s original appeal in November 2015, and Gawker’s most-recent appeal on June 10.
The Florida appeals court noted that “this court is prevented from any action in this appeal due to the automatic stay provision of 11 U.S.C., Section 362, Bankruptcy Code, unless a party receives stay relief from the bankruptcy court which at this time has jurisdiction.”
The parties of Hulk Hogan and Gawker have been “directed to inform this court when the bankruptcy court grants relief from the automatic stay or when the stay lapses.” The action is due by October 19.
Essentially, the Florida appeals court is waiting for the bankruptcy court to resolve their aspect of the legal proceedings before reviewing Gawker’s appeals case.