FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A Virginia choose on Wednesday turned down an work by actress Amber Listened to to set aside the $10 million judgment awarded in opposition to her in favor of her ex-partner, Johnny Depp.
Depp gained a defamation accommodate versus Listened to last month in a substantial-profile civil trial. Read gained a smaller sized, $2 million judgement on a counterclaim she filed versus Depp.
Previously this thirty day period, Listened to filed a movement looking for to have Depp’s verdict established aside, or have a mistrial declared. Her lawyers cited many factors, including an clear case of mistaken identity with a single of the jurors.
In a created get, Choose Penney Azcarate turned down all of Heard’s claims and mentioned the juror situation specifically was irrelevant and that Heard can’t demonstrate she was prejudiced.
“The juror was vetted, sat for the entire jury, deliberated, and reached a verdict. The only evidence just before this Courtroom is that this juror and all jurors adopted their oaths, the Court’s recommendations, and orders. This Court is certain by the qualified decision of the jury,” Azcarate wrote.
Depp sued for $50 million in Fairfax County right after Listened to wrote a 2018 op-ed piece in The Washington Submit about domestic violence in which she referred to herself as “a public figure symbolizing domestic abuse.” The report under no circumstances outlined Depp by title, but his attorneys explained many passages in the report defamed him by implication by referring to really publicized abuse allegations she created in 2016 as she filed for divorce.
Heard then submitted a $100 million counterclaim, also for defamation. By the time the case went to demo, her counterclaim had been whittled down to a couple statements made by 1 of Depp’s lawyers, who named Heard’s abuse allegations a hoax.
The jury awarded $15 million to Depp and $2 million to Listened to on her counterclaim. The $15 million judgment was minimized to $10.35 million because Virginia regulation caps punitive damages at $350,000.
The decide did not spell out rationale for rejecting Heard’s other claims in Wednesday’s get.
Amid other things, Listened to argued that the $10 million verdict is unsupported by the points, and would seem to demonstrate that jurors unsuccessful to concentration on the fallout from the 2018 op-ed piece — as they were being intended to do — and as a substitute just looked broadly at the damage Depp’s reputation endured as a end result of the alleged abuse.
Heard’s attorneys also argued argue that the verdicts for Depp on one hand and Heard on the other are fundamentally nonsensical.
“The jury’s dueling verdicts are inconsistent and irreconcilable,” her attorneys, Elaine Bredehoft and Benjamin Rottenborn, wrote.
Heard’s lawyers also challenged the verdict on the foundation that one of the seven jurors who made the decision the scenario was by no means summoned for jury responsibility. In accordance to court papers, a 77-year-previous county resident acquired a jury summons. But the man’s son, who has the exact same identify and life at the similar deal with, responded to the summons and served in his stead.
Heard’s attorneys argued that Virginia legislation is rigorous about juror identities, and the circumstance of mistaken id is grounds for a mistrial. They presented no proof that the 52-calendar year-old son, recognized in court docket papers only as Juror #15, purposefully or insidiously sought to exchange his father, but they argue that likelihood ought to not be discounted.
“The Court docket can’t assume, as Mr. Depp asks it to, that Juror 15’s apparently improper services was an harmless error. It could have been an intentional endeavor to provide on the jury of a higher-profile scenario,” Heard’s lawyers wrote.
Read even now has the capacity to enchantment the verdict to the Virginia Court docket of Appeals. The challenges introduced to the appellate courtroom could nicely be diverse from the difficulties Azcarate rejected Wednesday.
In a different get, the decide ordered that dozens of court docket documents be unsealed, like motions seeking to compel impartial medical examinations of both of those Depp and Read. A handful of files will continue being sealed, typically because they incorporate individual get in touch with information and facts or private health care information.
“In this matter, both of those litigants sued one particular an additional, thus opening them selves up to the general public forum of a jury demo. Courtroom records are public details,” Azcarate wrote.
An before edition of this short article incorrectly stated that Depp sued for $25 million and that Heard’s counterclaim sought $50 million. ___
Lavoie described from Richmond.