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Wednesday, May 22, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Nashville Jury to Weigh $75M Peeping Tom Case

NASHVILLE (CN) - Attorneys for sports broadcaster Erin Andrews and a hotel vied for a jury's support during closing arguments Friday in a trial over nude videos of Andrews filmed through a peephole.

In 2008, Andrews, who now works for Fox Sports, 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. She seeks $75 million.

"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."

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 by $65 million.

Andrews says 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.

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.

The most recent version of Andrews' complaint was filed Friday morning. It accuses West End Hotel Partners LLC and Windsor Capital Group, owners of the Nashville Marriott hotel, of negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. Barrett is accused of invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The broadcaster's civil trial started last week in Nashville. On Friday, attorneys for both sides delivered closing arguments in Judge Hamilton Gayden's courtroom. Gayden gave jury instructions at noon Friday, and closing arguments began after a 40-minute lunch break.

Bruce Broillet, representing Andrews, told the jury that her privacy was violated at the hotel in 2008.

"Barrett couldn't have done it without the negligence of the Nashville Marriott," Broillet said Friday afternoon.

Andrews "was never told by anybody...that there was a man that was asking to be put next to her," the broadcaster's attorney said.

Broillet, speaking for more than an hour and a half, told jurors that "you will always be Erin Andrews' jury."

"In one way, she's living her dream, isn't she? She's sought after, she's doing what she wants to do and worked so hard for," he said. "One the one hand, she's living a dream. Her dream. On the other hand, she's living a nightmare. It's both, and they're side-by-side for the rest of her life.

Earlier this week, Marriott defense attorney Marc Dedman suggested that the peephole videos helped Andrews' career, as it has thrived since, according to a Tennessean report.

Jury deliberation begins Monday morning, the newspaper reported.

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