Litigation » Lessons From Gawker’s Downfall

Lessons From Gawker’s Downfall

Vintage engraving of a Ruete's Ophthalmoscope. 1884

August 18, 2016

When it was sued by Terry Bollea, better known as Hulk Hogan, after posting video of Hogan having sex with his then best friend’s wife, news organization Gawker invoked a classic first amendment defense. Such arguments often allow publications to escape liability, but in this case the intersection of two powerful trends made them a poor fit, explains Boies, Schiller & Flexner attorney Scott Gant. Gawker was hit with an eye-popping $140 million judgment, leading to its bankruptcy, making this sound in major respects like a one-off case. Nonetheless, the author says, there are reasons why it could have lasting affects on news organizations and how freedom of speech is likely to be construed.

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