Before this thirty day period, Heard’s attorneys submitted a 51-web page movement asking Choose Penney Azcarate to set aside the jury’s verdict, which gave $10 million to Depp and $2 million to Read on competing defamation claims.
The movement cites numerous causes that the verdict is untenable, from the surprising decision to declare equally sides victorious to one extent or yet another, to a weird situation of mistaken id with 1 of the jurors.
Among the the difficulties elevated:
WHY $10 MILLION?
Depp sued for $25 million in Fairfax County immediately after Read wrote a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Write-up about domestic violence in which she referred to herself as “a public determine representing domestic abuse.” The post under no circumstances pointed out Depp by identify, but his legal professionals said various passages in the posting defamed him by implication by referring to hugely publicized abuse allegations she designed in 2016 as she submitted for divorce.
Read then filed a $50 million counterclaim, also for defamation. By the time the circumstance went to trial, her counterclaim experienced been whittled down to a couple statements produced by 1 of Depp’s lawyers, who identified as Heard’s abuse allegations a hoax.
The jury awarded $15 million to Depp and $2 million to Read on her counterclaim. The $15 million judgment was reduced to $10.35 million since Virginia regulation caps punitive damages at $350,000.
Heard’s attorneys say in court docket papers that the $10 million verdict is unsupported by the points, and appears to be to display that jurors unsuccessful to concentration on the fallout from the 2018 op-ed piece – as they have been meant to do – and in its place just looked broadly at the problems Depp’s popularity suffered as a result of the alleged abuse.
Depp’s attorneys, although, say the damages are supported by testimony from his agent and other individuals. They say the precedents cited by Heard’s crew to assistance her arguments “are decades aged, and none includes an intercontinental A-checklist movie star.”
Steve Cochran, a civil lawyer in Virginia who was appointed by a decide as a neutral conciliator in the situation to try out to lower pretrial discovery disputes, explained he always considered the weakest backlink in Depp’s circumstance was the damages, provided proof that the actor’s name had been ruined in Hollywood properly just before the publication of the op-ed. Nonetheless, he claimed he is sceptical that Listened to can get the verdict set apart.
Scott Surovell, a law firm and Democratic point out senator who practices regulation in Fairfax, also stated he sees little reason to set apart the damages.
“What the choose appears for … is that the verdict was sufficiently supported at trial and was not based mostly on speculation or conjecture. (Depp) will make a lot of funds from flicks. That does not sound to me like the damages were based mostly on speculation or conjecture, but on proof,” he stated.
“INCONSISTENT AND IRRECONCILABLE”
Heard’s attorneys argue that the verdicts for Depp on 1 hand and Listened to on the other are fundamentally nonsensical.
“The jury’s duelling verdicts are inconsistent and irreconcilable,” her legal professionals wrote.
Depp’s attorneys, though, say the verdict form utilised by jurors allowed them to specific with specificity particularly which statements they found defamatory. When you glance at the personal statements, they say, the duelling verdicts make feeling.
Jeremiah Denton III, a Virginia Beach front legal professional with working experience in defamation cases, said he doesn’t check out the verdicts as irreconcilable. If something, he stated, the award most in jeopardy is the $2 million supplied to Heard, mainly because he stated it can be lawfully dubious that Depp can be held liable for statements built by his lawyer.
“I will not recognize why the judge even permitted that challenge to go to the jury,” he explained.
One particular of the far more strange goods in the dialogue is a situation of apparent mistaken identification with one of the jurors. In accordance to court docket papers, a 77-calendar year-aged county resident been given a summons for the trial. But the man’s son, who has the identical identify and lives at the identical tackle, responded to the summons and served in his stead.
Heard’s lawyers say Virginia regulation is demanding about juror identities, and the situation of mistaken identification is grounds for a mistrial. They have presented no evidence that the 52-year-aged son, recognized in court papers only as Juror #15, purposefully or insidiously sought to substitute his father, but they argue that likelihood should not be discounted.
“The Court docket are not able to presume, as Mr. Depp asks it to, that Juror 15’s evidently incorrect assistance was an innocent blunder. It could have been an intentional attempt to serve on the jury of a substantial-profile situation,” Heard’s attorneys wrote.
Paul Bekman, a Baltimore law firm who has also experimented with circumstances in Virginia, mentioned Heard’s team desired to raise any problems about the juror forward of time.
“Anyone wanting at a 52-yr-old and a 77-yr-previous would be ready to inform – with any luck , – that there is certainly a variance of 25 a long time, and they would have the right to inquire about that,” he said. “I believe it is too late to complain about the juror.”
Cochran also explained he was sceptical that the confusion could end result in a mistrial or the decide location apart the verdict, but he cautioned that it is tough to forecast due to the fact the problem is so unusual.
“I have been practising for 50 a long time and in no way observed that situation come up,” he mentioned.