American sports broadcaster Erin Andrews has been awarded a settlement of $55million in damages after a stranger secretly filmed her in the nude in 2008 and then posted the video on the internet.
The incident took place at the Nashville Marriott, and the 37-year-old had sued the hotel's franchise owner West End Partner, the Windsor Capital Group that manages the hotel, and Michael Barrett, the man who filmed her by removing peepholes from her door.
Erin Andrews has been awarded $55million in damages
Erin wept as the verdict was announced, and later released a statement thanking the court, the jury, her legal team and family. "I've been honoured by all the support from victims around the world," she said. "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."
Mr Barrett pleaded guilty to stalking in 2009 and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison. During his trial, the former delivery truck driver admitted that his motivation had been financial and said he was "not proud" of what he had done.
Erin testified that the stalking had left her fearful, anxious and depressed. She told the jury that she has become so cautious she now checks hotel air conditioners for hidden cameras, and changes rooms at the last minute for fear of being recorded.
The 37-year-old said the incident had left her fearful and anxious
"I felt embarrassed, humiliated and mortified because of the video," she said during her emotional testimony. "I think about it every day. One of the worst thoughts I have is when I walk around the stadium… there's always that thought, as I walk right by the stands, and I think, 'My God, everyone in this stadium has seen that video.'"
The trial hinged on whether or not the managers of the Nashville Marriott should be held accountable for Mr Barrett's actions. Defense attorneys said that the incident was a one-off occurrence that could not have been prevented, and laid the blame solely with Mr Barrett.
Lawyers for Erin, meanwhile, alleged that the hotel employees confirmed to Mr Barrett where Erin was staying, and allowed him to book a room next to hers.