Gawker Affiliate Back in the Ring With the Hulk

     (CN) – A Florida judge should consider whether Hulk Hogan’s sex-tape based claims against a Hungary-based affiliate of Gawker have jurisdiction, an appeals court ruled.
     Gawker and Hogan, whose real name is Terry Gene Bollea, have been tangled in litigation for years over the media blog’s October 2012 publication of scenes from the wrestler’s videotaped extramarital dalliance with Heather Clem.
     Hogan claims that Clem and her former husband, disc jockey Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem, secretly recorded the video in 2006 and released it without Hogan’s knowledge.
     A Florida judge ordered Gawker to remove the video and the article by A.J. Daulerio, but the Second District Court of Appeal reversed last year.
     One of the defendants in the former WWE champion’s action is a Gawker affiliate called Kinja or Blogwire Hungary Szellemi Alkotast Hasznosito.
     The Pinellas County trial court refused in a January 2014 hearing to dismiss the claims against Kinja, but said Kinja could renew the motion after Hogan conducted some discovery in the case on jurisdictional issues.
     An order memorializing that dismissal appeared in May.
     Kinja appealed, and the Lakeland-based Second Department Court of Appeal reversed last week, saying the Hungarian company should have a legal rematch with the Hulkster.
     “Neither of the parties has ever had an opportunity for a full hearing – whether non-evidentiary or evidentiary – on the merits of Kinja’s jurisdictional objection,” Judge Douglas Wallace for a three-person panel.
     It was wrong for the trial court to deny Kinja’s motion without such a hearing, the April 17 ruling states.
     A 12-time world champion, Hogan found himself in the wrestling ring earlier this month at WrestleMania 31. He and his New World Order teammates, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, interfered in the match between Triple H and Sting.
     The appellate reversal for Gawker last year chided Hogan for stoking the flames of the sex-tape story by bragging TMZ in 2012 about his many “conquests” during the relevant time period.
     On “The Howard Stern Show” later that year, Hogan also revealed that Todd Clem had allowed him to have sex with his wife.
     The court emphasized the absence of profit-seeking motives in Gawker’s report on the story.
     “Gawker Media has not attempted to sell the sex tape or any of the material creating the instant controversy, for that matter,” the Florida court wrote. “Rather, Gawker Media reported on Mr. Bollea’s extramarital affair and complementary thereto posted excerpts from the video.”

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