Erin Andrews awarded measure of justice with $55 million judgement in peephole lawsuit

By Adam Silverstein
March 7, 2016

After spending weeks in court reliving the worst moment of her life, Erin Andrews on Monday was awarded a $55 million judgment in her civil lawsuit against a Nashville-based Marriott hotel.

Andrews was victimized by a stalker who in 2008 utilized a hacksaw to remove her hotel room’s peephole in order to record nude video without her knowledge. The stalker, Michael David Barrett, originally sought to sell the footage but instead released it online when he did not find a buyer.

Barrett admitted to taping Andrews and was found guilty in a criminal case. The jury on the civil trial found Barrett 51 percent at fault for the incident but placed 49 percent of the blame on the hotel chain and its management company, West End Hotel Partners. The hotel and its management stood accused of providing details about the location of Andrews’s room to Barrett and even booking him in the room next to her. The companies will combine to pay out $27 million to Andrews, while the $28 million judgment on Barrett will result in little to no money coming Andrews’s way.

The $55 million judgment is punitive as a means of dissuading others from attempting similar actions or failing to prevent them from occurring. More than likely, Marriott will claim the judgement is excessive and seek to pay out a more reasonable amount once the jury is dismissed.

Andrews, who broke down crying while testifying and had to go over the horrific experience while sharing details that only made her case stronger, originally sought $75 million in the civil suit.

“[I get taunted] every day of my life,” Andrews told the jury, according to the Associated Press. “Either I get a tweet or somebody makes a comment in the paper or somebody send me a still video to my Twitter or somebody screams it at me in the stands and I’m right back to this. I feel so embarrassed and I am so ashamed.”

The defense tried but failed to convince the jury that Andrews had profited off her embarrassing experience in an attempt to have them view her as less of a victim. Instead, their argument fell on deaf ears as Andrews recounted that even her employer at the time, ESPN, demanded she do an on-camera interview to make it clear the video release was not a publicity stunt before they allowed her to return to work.

Though the $55 million judgment is no doubt a win for Andrews, it is a minor one in the grand scheme of the hell she’s had to live due to the actions of a sick individual less than eight years ago.

“I would like to thank the Nashville court, the court personnel and the jury for their service. The support I’ve received from the people of Nashville has been overwhelming,” Andrews wrote on her Instagram account. “I would also like to thank my family, friends, and legal team. I’ve been honored by all the support from victims around the world. 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.”

Andrews, a former Florida Gators dazzler, is now a host and sideline reporter with Fox Sports.

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