Hulk Hogan Awarded $25 Million in Punitive Damages in Gawker Lawsuit

The wrestler was awarded $115 million last week in his lawsuit against Gawker.

ByABC News
March 21, 2016, 7:46 PM

— -- A Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan $25 million in punitive damages in his invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker today.

According to the Associated Press, the judgment involves Gawker Media paying Hogan $15 million, Gawker founder Nick Denton paying $10 million, and the website's former editor-in-chief, A.J. Daulerio, paying $100,000.

Last week, the jury determined that the former wrestler deserved $55 million in economic damages and $60 million for emotional distress.

Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, sued Gawker in 2012 after the website published footage of him having sex with the then-wife of his best friend, radio personality Todd Clem.

"We are extremely happy with the verdict and Mr. Bollea feels vindicated. Our victory will also deter others from victimizing innocent people," Hogan's lawyers said in a statement today. "This verdict now requires those organizations to respect privacy and if not pay the price for failing to do so."

Gawker Media President and General Counsel Heather Dietrick said the jury was not given key facts to help them deliver a fair verdict. She added that Gawker will file an appeal.

"Soon after Hulk Hogan brought his original lawsuits in 2012, three state appeals court judges and a federal judge repeatedly ruled that Gawker's post was newsworthy under the First Amendment. We expect that to happen again -- particularly because the jury was prohibited from knowing about these court rulings in favor of Gawker, prohibited from seeing critical evidence gathered by the FBI and prohibited from hearing from the most important witness, Bubba Clem," she said in a statement.

"Didn’t the jury deserve to know that Bubba told his radio listeners and then the FBI, in a meeting where lying is a criminal offense, that Hulk Hogan knew he was making a sex tape?" she continued. "Didn’t the jury deserve to know the FBI uncovered multiple tapes of Hulk Hogan having sex with Bubba's wife? Didn’t the jury deserve to know about the text messages Hulk Hogan sent to Bubba that undermine this case?

"There is so much this jury deserved to know and, fortunately, that the appeals court does indeed know," she concluded. "So we are confident we will win this case ultimately based on not only on the law but also on the truth."

Hogan testified that there are stark differences between his public and private personas, and that when the tape was released, his "whole world went upside down." Both he and Heather Cole, the woman in the tape, said that they did not know they were being filmed at the time.

Meanwhile, Gawker's lawyer Michael Berry argued in his opening statements that Hogan sued to get "lots and lots of money." Gawker, he added, was founded by Nick Denton in 2002 so that the public could "have the simple, unvarnished truth ... about public figures."

Denton and Daulerio have not commented.