In 2008, popular sports reporter Erin Andrews was secretly recorded nude by Michael David Barrett. After a failed attempt to sell the video, Barrett posted the video to the internet for the entire world to see. Futile as her attempt was, Ms. Andrews spent alot of her time and money trying to have the video removed from the internet. Unfortunately once something arrives on the internet, it spreads like wildfire. Impossible is an understatement as to the task she faced.
Andrews said that whenever she stays at hotels now, she constantly looks for recording devices, or peep holes and does not feel comfortable anymore. She also said she is traumatized because she will forever have to explain away this video to her future husband or kids and has never been the same since the incident occurred. Naturally she did the only thing she could. She sought damages from Barrett and the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University.
In January of 2016, Marriott was dismissed from the case establishing that they were not legally responsible but West End Hotel Partners and Windsor Capital, the two companies that operate that Marriott were. As determined by the jury, Andrews was awarded $55 million dollars in damages. However, the fight doesn’t stop there. Seeing as $55 million is an unusually high amount for damages in a Civil case that did not include someone physically injured, collecting the amount may prove to be difficult. This is not to say that Andrews was not harmed but the reality is that most victims awarded damages receive anywhere between $1 – $2 million and typically involves some serious injury or death. Furthermore, the video have not proven to affect Andrews career as she is still a very successful reporter.
The biggest concern, however, is do West End Hotel Partners and Windsor Capital even have the capacity to pay such a large amount. Will they file for Bankruptcy protection? Bankruptcy law is very complex in situations like this but can certainly apply which could get these defendants somewhat off the hook. It is a very delicate situation and unfortunately, Ms. Andrews will have to continue to fight her way through this. One thing is certain, regardless of the result, hotel owners everywhere are paying much closer attention to the privacy they guarantee their guests.