Erin Andrews, sportscaster and co-host of Dancing with the Stars, was awarded $55 million in her recent case against Michael David Barrett and a Nashville, Tennessee hotel chain. In the case, Barrett checked into the hotel room next to Andrews and, after altering a peephole, recorded her naked. He then uploaded the video to the internet where it was shared millions of times.
Barrett was arrested in 2009 and convicted in the case. He was sentenced to 2 ½ years in jail and has since been released. Andrews and her attorneys brought a suit against both Barrett and a Nashville, Tennessee hotel chain, requesting $75 million in damages. As a result of the video being spread throughout the world, Andrews has suffered from anxiety and depression, and a mild form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Her family reports that she continues to have difficulty trusting people since the incident. A tearful Andrews took the stand and explained how the experience has left her humiliated and ashamed.
Andrews’ attorneys alleged that the hotel confirmed that Andrews was a guest, gave out her room number, and allowed Barrett to check into the room next door. The jury found the hotel 49 percent liable in this case, with Barrett taking the rest of the blame. The $55 million award will be paid based on their percentage of liability. It is unlikely, however, that Andrews will receive much money from Barrett as he has declared bankruptcy and is living in his father’s basement presently. In the wake of the verdict, hotel owners are reassessing their protocol for managing the safety and security of their guests.
When you stay at a hotel or visit any business establishment, you expect that your safety will be reasonably protected. Although most of us probably do not have stalkers, we do expect that business establishments will protect our privacy and have appropriate measures in place to handle such incidents, should they occur. In Andrews case, numerous breaks in protocol occurred to enable Barrett to record her and invade her privacy. And though the verdict may seem steep, it accounts for just a few dollars for each time Andrews video was viewed and her privacy violated yet again. It also sends a message that such incidents are not to be tolerated.
If you have been harmed and believe a business is liable, contact an Oregon premises liability personal injury attorney today online or by phone at 503-594-0333.