On March 7, after seven days of testimony and seven hours of deliberation, a Nashville jury awarded television broadcaster Erin Andrews $55 million in a negligence lawsuit. Andrews filed the suit about six years ago against Michael David Barrett, who secretly recorded nude video of her through a peephole in her room at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University in 2008. The suit was also filed against the hotel’s owner and operator. Defense attorney Barry Covert sat down with Scott Levin of WGRZ to discuss the verdict. The full story is available on the WGRZ website.
Andrews should receive full amount
This week, Nashville jury awarded sportscaster and Dancing with the Stars co-host Erin Andrews $55 million in a negligence lawsuit against convicted stalker Michael David Barrett, as well as the owner and operator of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University. Mr. Covert told WGRZ that, assuming the verdict gets upheld on appeal, Andrews should be receiving the money. “The appellate court will review it, maybe overturn it, maybe send it back down,” he said, “but if it gets upheld on appeal, due to what’s called joint and several liability, all three defendants are responsible for the entire amount. So, if one or more of the defendants have that amount of money, she will be seeing that money.”
Mr. Covert also told WGRZ that, although these large verdicts can sometime be reduced, it is unlikely to happen in this case. “Now the defendants will appeal this to the appellate court,” he said. “And if it gets upheld, there’s no reason for her to settle it because we can assume that the defendants, especially the management company and the owner of the hotel, have $55 million.”
Verdict sends a strong message
When asked if he was surprised by the verdict and the amount, Mr. Covert responded, “That is a large, large verdict. They’re sending a very strong message.” He went on to tell WGRZ that “they’re really sending that message to the management of the hotel and to the hotel itself, because they know […] that the individual who did this doesn’t have $55 million. But they’re sending a message to hotels, saying, ‘You can’t allow stalkers to come in, ask to get the room next to a pretty newscaster, and then wash your hands of it and say, “It’s not our problem.”’”
About Barry N. Covert
Mr. Covert is a senior partner in Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria’s Criminal Defense Trials and Appeals Practice Area. He is known for his aggressive representation of clients in the areas of New York State and federal criminal trials and appeals; driving while intoxicated; constitutional law, including First Amendment, civil rights actions, and federal False Claims Act; defending against allegations of scientific misconduct and fraud, research misconduct and fraud, plagiarism, and fabrication of evidence; and professional licensing defense. Mr. Covert frequently provides legal analysis for WGRZ and other media outlets.