Our firm recently represented a well-known sportscaster in her case against a negligent hotel and a stalker who violated her privacy.
Fox sportscaster and entertainment personality Erin Andrews was staying at a Marriott in Nashville when a man named Michael Barrett shot a video of her without her consent. He asked the hotel to confirm that Andrews was staying there, then requested a room adjacent to hers. Hotel staff complied – without even letting Andrews know. Barrett testified that he altered Andrews’ peephole, shot video of her in the nude and eventually posted it online.
Represented by GB&W partners Bruce Broillet, Scott Carr, and the rest of our trial team, she pursued a lawsuit against Barrett and the hotel. After our client suffered intense humiliation and stress about her career, we are proud to have secured a unanimous verdict of $55 million on her behalf, with 51 percent of the blame assigned to Barrett and 49 percent to Marriott (a confidential settlement was later reached with the hotel).
How Andrews v. Marriott Is Changing the Legal Landscape
While our clients’ best interest is always our top priority, we are also pleased that the case has had a substantial impact on laws across the country:
- The Tennessee legislature is considering two bills aimed at protecting victims of stalking. HB 1448 would increase penalties for unlawful photography and require perpetrators to register as sex offenders. HB 1779 adds text messaging and social media as methods of stalking, making it easier for some to secure justice.
- The case also helped California lawmakers introduce the Keeping Everyone Reliably Safe Act or STALKERS. The bill aimed to empower victims and prosecutors by increasing the scope of certain stalking laws to include new technology.
- Lawmakers in other states are considering stronger protections for victims of stalking and nonconsensual pornography.
- The case brought important issues of privacy, stalking and nonconsensual pornography into public discourse.
The verdict has also prompted major changes in the hotel industry, motivating hospitality businesses to strengthen privacy and security measures for their guests. At GB&W, we hope that these improvements can help prevent this from happening to other innocent people in the future.