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Gawker Ordered To Pay ANOTHER $15 Million More To Hulk Hogan

hulk-compressedThe other shoe just dropped in the Hulk Hogan/Gawker Media trial: Gawker has been ordered to pay $25 million in punitive damages on top of the $115 million in compensatory damages the jury awarded to the Suburban Commando last week. Gawker founder Nick Denton and former editor A.J. Daulerio were also ordered to pay $10 million and $100,000, respectively.

Gawker’s lawyers argued that the $115 million judgement far exceeded the net worth of Gawker ($83 million) and nearly all of founder Denton’s personal net worth of $121 million. As for Daulerio, the third defendant in the suit, Gawker’s lawyers contended that he has no assets and a $27,000 student debt. (That didn’t stop the jury from trying to find another way to punish Daulerio, it seems: they asked if it was possible to make defendants do community service in lieu of a cash judgment. Judge Pamela Campbell said it was not, thus ending their presumed plan of sentencing Daulerio to a lifetime of community service without parole.) Essentially, Gawker wanted the jury to find that it had already punished them enough.

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Judge Pamela Campbell

It was a nice effort by the Gawker legal team, but doomed from the start: It was clear from the compensatory award (which was for even more than the $100 million Hogan asked for) that this jury was not a fan of Gawker or its tactics — or at least, the tactics as they were presented to the jury, which was not allowed to see the FBI documents or hear from witnesses that might have changed their minds, as decided by the very-much-in-favor-of-Hogan Judge Pamela Campbell, many of whose rulings in this case have already been overturned by higher courts.

Gawker does, of course, plan to appeal. Really, it’s been planning that appeal since before the jury found in Hogan’s favor. But Florida law says the defendants have to pay a bond equal to the amount of damages plus two years interest for an automatic stay from to hand any money over to Hogan, pending the appeal. That amount is capped at $50 million, and could be even less if Gawker is able to successfully argue that it can’t afford to put $50 million in escrow.

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