A Tennessee jury awarded Erin Andrews $55 million in an invasion of privacy scandal. The jury of five men and seven women initially ordered convicted stalker, Michael David Barrett, to pay $28 million, while the owner and operator of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University to pay approximately $26 million. Now here comes a plot twist: She wants the Marriott to pay the entire $55 million.
What will she ever see and when will she ever see it? This is literally the $55 million question.
An award of damages in any civil action comes down to the issue of collectability. Like they say, “You can’t get blood out of a rock.” Certainly, Michael Barrett can’t afford to pay the $28 million that the jury ordered. It is most likely that he would be found to be judgment-proof. He would essentially be ordered to be pay damages but lacks the wherewithal to do so.
On the other hand, West End Hotel Partners and Windsor Capital, the co-defendants in this matter, are more likely to have considerable means to pay their portion, but this financial ability is still unclear.
In law, when co-defendants are found liable, the default rule is that co-defendants who can pay are obligated to pay the fair share of those co-defendants, who lack the financial resources to do so. This is promulgated in the idea that the co-defendants are “joint and severally liable to each other.”
As the bulk of my practice involves auto accidents, there must be an auto insurance policy in effect at the time of the accident. Thus being said, an insurer will pay for my client’s damages from the existing in-force policy. Thus, the issue of collection becomes a non-issue. There are certain situations where a party does not have auto insurance in effect at the time of the accident, thus, directing my client to their own auto insurance policy under the uninsured motorist coverage.
Thus, it is paramount that you examine your own auto insurance policy to see exactly how much uninsured motorist coverage you have, so that you do not find yourself in a situation where the responsible party that hit you has no insurance coverage and you do not have enough insurance coverage to fully compensate you for your personal injury.
Check your auto insurance policy now!
This discussion is not legal advice.