ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – A Florida jury awarded a total of $25 million in punitive damages Monday in the Hulk Hogan sex tape trial, hitting Gawker Media with a $15 million judgment and its owner, Nick Denton, with $10 million.
It also assessed $100,000 against A.J. Daulerio, the Gawker editor who decided to post the edited sex video and wrote the post that accompanied it.
The punitive damages come on top of a $115 million the jury imposed Friday after two weeks of trial.
Hogan sued Gawker after it posted a video of him having sex with his then-best friend’s wife. Hogan said he didn’t know he was being taped.
Hogan’s lawyer had asked jurors Monday to add punitive damages to the $115 million judgment. Gawker’s lawyer pleaded that the existing verdict was already “debilitating” for the company.
During brief closing arguments Monday, Hogan’s lawyer Kenneth Turkel said Gawker Media’s gross revenues in 2015 were $48.7 million and that founder Nick Denton has a total of $121 million, including a $3.6 million Manhattan condo. Gawker Media is worth $83 million, the lawyers said.
Daulerio, the editor, has no assets, the lawyers said. They said Daulerio has $27,000 in student loan debt.
Turkel asked the jury to decide on a punitive amount as both punishment to Gawker and a deterrent to other media companies.
Jurors have “an ability to send a message,” Turkel said, adding that Gawker acted with reckless disregard when it posted an edited version of the sex video.
Michael Sullivan, representing Gawker, said the New York Media company has “heard your judgment and we take it very seriously.”
The $115 million judgment “is punishment enough” and “is already far beyond their means.”
“The amount of that verdict could already be debilitating for Gawker Media,” Sullivan said.
“Your verdict will send a chill down the spine of writers, producers, and publishers,” he added.
Despite the jury’s decision on punitive damages, it’s clear the case isn’t over. Gawker has already said it would appeal.
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