Sportscaster Erin Andrews awarded S$75 million in lawsuit over nude video at hotel

Sportscaster Erin Andrews at a courtroom in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 1.
Sportscaster Erin Andrews at a courtroom in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 1. PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) A jury on Monday found a Nashville hotel liable for a nude video of sportscaster Erin Andrews that went viral and awarded her US$55 million (S$75.8 million) in damages to be paid by the hotel and the man who shot the video.

Andrews, 37, sued the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University over a 2008 video of her that was taken by a stalker in an adjoining room and later posted on the Internet.

Andrews, a Fox sportscaster who used to work for ESPN, had sought US$75 million in damages.

"We're disappointed with the outcome," defence attorney Marc Dedman told reporters. He said he would consult with his clients on whether they would appeal the case.

Jurors began deliberating on Monday morning after the two-week trial concluded last Friday.

Andrews testified for two days, saying that since the video went viral in 2009, she experienced serious mental injury, including depression, crying spells and sleeplessness.

Her lawyer said in closing arguments last Friday that the hotel was negligent and could have prevented the incident.

"I've been honoured 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 said in a brief statement on her Twitter feed.

The video was taken by Michael David Barrett, who pleaded guilty in 2009 to stalking Andrews and making the video. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Barrett asked the hotel to put him in a room next to Andrews' after an employee confirmed to him that she was staying there on a certain date.

He rigged a peep hole to shoot the video of Andrews while she was changing. Lawyers for the hotel argued that the responsibility was solely Barrett's and there was no way the hotel could have foreseen what he did.