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Friday, December 8, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Jury Awards Sportscaster $55M for Peephole Clips

NASHVILLE (CN) - After nearly seven hours of deliberation, a Tennessee jury on Monday awarded Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews $55 million in damages for nude videos of her filmed through a hotel peephole.

In 2008, Andrews stayed at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University hotel to cover a Vanderbilt football game.

Michael David Barrett requested a hotel room next to Andrews', altered her room's peephole, and recorded video of Andrews changing and getting dressed, according to a lawsuit she filed against the hotel and Barrett.

"Defendant Barrett then posted the surreptitious videos of plaintiff on the Internet from Illinois, thereby allowing, permitting, and disseminating the illegal and unauthorized videos worldwide," the complaint states. "On July 16, 2009, plaintiff Erin Andrews became aware for the first time that she had been surreptitiously videotaped while changing and/or getting dressed at various hotel rooms and that her privacy had been invaded."

Barrett was sentenced in 2010 to two and a half years in prison after pleading guilty to interstate stalking with the intent to harass. He admitted to stalking Andrews for 18 months and tracking her to at least three hotel rooms in three states.

Andrews' original lawsuit was filed in December 2011, in Davidson County, Tenn. court. She amended the complaint last October, increasing the amount of damages sought from $10 million to $75 million.

The sportscaster claimed the hotel was negligent for revealing to Barrett where she was staying, and for failing to discover that he had altered the peephole in her room.

Andrews accused West End Hotel Partners LLC and Windsor Capital Group, owners of the Nashville Marriott hotel, of negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Barrett was accused of invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The broadcaster's civil trial started two weeks ago in Nashville. Last Friday, attorneys for both sides delivered closing arguments in Judge Hamilton Gayden's courtroom.

Jury deliberations began around 9:30 a.m. Monday. By 4:20 p.m., jurors had arrived at a verdict.

They decided Andrews was entitled to $55 million in compensation, with 51 percent of fault pinned on Barrett and 49 percent on Windsor, an agent of West End.

Andrews expressed her gratitude in a statement posted on her Twitter account after the verdict.

"I've been honored by all the support from victims around the world," she said. "Their outreach has helped me be able to stand up and hold accountable those whose job it is to protect everyone's safety, security and privacy."

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