Oregon Bankruptcy Judge Finds Erin Andrews Stalker Responsible For Share Of Verdict

Erin Andrews bankruptcy

We have previously posted regarding the Erin Andrews peephole trial on several occasions. We coverage of the trial here. We then covered the multi-million dollar verdict here. Here, we discussed it in the context of lawsuits not being worth the amount of money that the plaintiff requests in the complaint and we questioned whether Andrews would ever collect the alleged stalker’s, Mr. Barret’s, portion of the verdict:

In the Erin Andrews case, the “$75 million lawsuit” tag turned out to be misleading. The Plaintiff’s attorney did not ask the jury for a specific amount of money in closing, and the jury ultimately awarded $55 million. Of the $55 million, the hotel owner defendant was required to pay $26 million when its share of the verdict was reduced proportionate to its percentage of fault. The $28 million portion of the verdict that the jury assigned to the individual defendant (who is currently serving time in prison) might as well be forgotten, as that will never be collected. With the uncertainty of what will happen on appeal, and potentially applicable insurance policy limits that are well below the amount awarded, the case will likely settle for significantly less than the jury awarded.

As it turns out, Mr. Barret filed bankruptcy and asked the bankruptcy court to discharge his duties to make good on the Erin Andrews verdict. Reportedly, “Mr. Barrett’s bankruptcy allowed him to cancel a portion of the nearly $160,000 in debt he faced, but Ms. Andrews’s lawyers argued that federal law prevents him from getting out of paying damages owed for recording and posting a video showing her naked in her a hotel room.” Judge Trish Brown, Oregon bankruptcy judge, denied Barret’s request that the damages award obligation be discharged, concluding that the damages owed by Barret to Erin Andrews were non-dischargeable.

Despite the bankruptcy judge’s ruling, we still agree with former professor at this author’s alma mater and current legal analyst for Sport Illustrated, Michael McCann’s conclusion that Barret is likely judgment proof:

Andrews’s capacity to collect the $55 million in damages will soon come into focus. First consider that 51% of her damages—about $28 million—are assigned to the 54-year-old Barrett. It stands to reason that Barrett is what’s known in law as ‘judgment proof,’ meaning someone who is ordered by a court to pay damages but lacks the financial wherewithal to do so. Before his incarceration in 2010, Barrett was an insurance executive, which presumably paid him a good salary. But after his release in 2012, it’s not clear if he has been employed. It’s a safe bet to assume he hasn’t amassed anything near $28 million. In fact, in 2010, Barrett’s attorney, David Willingham, said Barrett had lost entire life savings. If Andrews receives any money from Barrett over the rest of their lives, it will likely be a very small amount.

This one illustrates one of the three major challenges that Plaintiff’s attorney’s face. Sometimes they have a great case on liability but no damages. Other times they have a great case on damages, but there is no liability. And other times, they have a great case on liability and damages, only to find out that the defendant is a turnip-turned-attempted-blood-donor.

The Case Of The $9 Million Penis: Sell Or Buy?

In what is sure to go down as the worst injury known to man, an Oregonian has filed suit after having his penis amputated as a result of alleged nursing home neglect. As reported by The Oregonian, the 60-year old man checked into the Oregon City Health Care Center on December 26, 2013, to recover from a kidney infection. He repeatedly complained of pain and bleeding around his catheter, but the nursing home staff allegedly failed to address the problem. On January 20, 2014, the man checked himself out of the nursing home against the staff’s advice and sought medical care at a local hospital, where he was immediately treated for sepsis. Because his penis was so infected, surgeons apparently had no choice but to amputate. The man also allegedly suffered from acute diastolic heart failure, kidney damage, breathing problems, and anemia. The man has incurred up to $2 million in medical bills, lost wages, and other economic damages. He is also seeking $6 million for pain and suffering. Not surprisingly, his wife is also seeking $1 million for loss of consortium.

While it is possible there could be some issues with causation if the amputation is related to the kidney disease rather than the alleged neglect, we here at Abnormal Use are much more interested in discussing the man’s damages. For many, the $9 million price tag may actually be considered a bargain. It is certainly a loss that most would never want to consider. There may be no amount of money that can compensate for the loss of a penis – at least for the extrinsic value the man places on it.

On the other hand, we have to wonder whether a penis depreciates in value? Should we be determining value based on some kind of legal rubric that factors in age, past usage, current usage, et cetera? It is certainly arguable that the injury to an older man may not carry the same weight was an injury to a college student, for example. Sure, this argument may sound picky and perhaps a little NSFW, but we are defense lawyers, after all.

At the end of the day, assuming the nursing home is liable, we expect this case to end by way of a hefty settlement. Taking this case to trial would probably be risky.  After all, some portion of the jury will be made up of men, all of which would pay millions to keep from suffering the same fate.

Hey, Nike, Warn Me These Shoes Are Dangerous Weapons!

In the past, we here at Abnormal Use have been critical of failure to warn claims.  To all of those claims, we now apologize.  Compared to the new suit against Nike , these other claims are as monumental as Marbury v. Madison.  According to a report out of NBC News, Sirgiorgio Clardy, an Oregon-based pimp sentenced to 100 years in prison for brutally beating a john with a Nike shoe has filed suit against the company alleging that Nike failed to warn that its shoes could be used as a dangerous weapon.  Apparently, had Nike provided such a warning, Clardy may have refrained from repeatedly stomping on the face of a client.   He is seeking $100 million due to Nike’s perceived omission.

Clardy apparently got the wise idea to sue Nike based on the jury’s classification of his shoes as a “dangerous weapon” in the criminal trial in order to ensure he received a maximum sentence.   We imagine if Clardy found some way to inflict the same injuries on the victim with a plastic spoon, it would have arrived the same classification.  Thankfully for Nike’s sake, it was not a party to the criminal suit and shouldn’t be deprived of the opportunity to protect its interests civilly.

Our criticism of failure to warn claims is the notion that requiring warning labels for many of these allegations is superfluous.  Many hazards are just too obvious to necessitate a warning.  This case takes the notion to the stratosphere.  We have watched enough episodes of “The Walking Dead to know that almost any object can be used as a weapon if the assailant is creative.  When a criminal uses an object in a way no reasonable person intended, then there is no need to warn of the horrid use. We understand why manufacturers should warn of certain dangers; those warnings serve a necessary purpose.  We doubt, however, that anybody would see Clardy’s suit as analogous to those situations.

We would say that we will keep you updated as this case progresses, but we all know how it will turn out.