20 / July 2016
How else to look at the 'Gawker' case: It's about unjust enrichment
Hulk Hogan's sex tape case against the celebrity website Gawker is arresting from a number of perspectives. From a lofty perch, it presents a neat constitutional dilemma: privacy vs. freedom of expression.
From down below, it's fun because it features two equally unsavory parties as well as a shadowy third-party benefactor who supplied Hogan with the funds to litigate Gawker into bankruptcy.
But nothing beats the thrill the case offers damages experts. It's not your average lost profits or lost business opportunity case. Rather, Hogan's damages experts were successful in quantifying damages under the less-common unjust enrichment theory. Rather than focusing on the damages to Hogan, the plaintiff, stemming from Gawker's misconduct, the experts calculated the gain to Gawker, the defendant, from the misuse of Hogan's assets, that is, his brand and other intellectual property.
Jeff Anderson (CONSOR), who was Hogan's testifying expert, explains the calculation underlying the eye-popping $115 million damages award this way: "We calculated the benefit to the website by analyzing the change in value from before the video was posted (predamages period) to after the video was removed (post-damages period)."
For more on the methodology, click here.