July 3, 2022

Depp vs Heard - $100 million Defamation case

 

Depp v Heard – The Defamation Suit 

 

The Johnny Depp & Amber Heard defamation trial was one of the most talked-about celebrity trials in Hollywood. The result of the highly televised trial had huge implications that could make or break both actors’ careers. Johnny Depp, who was known for his larger-than-life roles, had been reduced to nothing after getting fired from a major franchise after allegations of domestic abuse from his ex, Amber Heard.

The 100 Million Defamation Case-

The defamation trial of John C. Depp, II v. Amber Laura Heard (CL–2019–2911) took place in Fairfax County, Virginia, from April 11 to June 1, 2022. Plaintiff Johnny Depp filed three defamation claims against defendant Amber Heard, each claiming damages of more than $50 million. Heard filed a counterclaim against Depp, claiming personal immunity from civil liability, as well as defamation and electronic harassment by Depp or his agents, and countersued for $100 million in damages.

Why the Defamation Case?

Depp and Heard got married in Feb, 2015 for three years, ending their marriage in 2017. Heard wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post in December 2018, maintained that she was sexually assaulted, accusing her ex-husband of intimate partner violence without naming him.

The op-ed’s headline stated that Heard “spoke up against sexual violence – and faced our culture’s wrath” according to the headline In the op-ed, Heard claimed that she became “a public figure representing domestic abuse” “two years ago,” and that she was directly “watching, in real time,” how institutions protect men accused of abuse.”

Depp refuted the accusations and alleged abuse and blamed the op-ed for ruining his reputation and career, as well as forcing him to lose a lot of money. In exchange, Heard sued Depp over statements made by his lawyer Adam Waldman to the Daily Mail in April 2020, claiming that first, Heard staged a “sexual violence hoax” against Depp; second, Heard and her friends “spilled a little wine” in a penthouse, “roughed up the place, got their stories straight,” and dialled 911 to stage a “hoax”; and third, Heard staged a “abuse hoax” against Depp.

Depp Vs Heard Verdict-

The jury found that the title and the two assertions above in Heard’s op-ed were false, defamed Depp, and were written with genuine malice. Jury awarded Depp a total of $15 million, $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages. Due to a limit imposed by Virginia state law, the punitive damages were lowered to $350,000 which brought Depp’s total award down to $10.35 million.

For Heard’s counterclaim, the jury found that Waldman’s first and third statements were not defamatory, but that Waldman’s second statement about Heard and her friends “roughing” up a penthouse to stage a “hoax” was false, defamatory, and made with actual malice, and thus Heard was awarded $2 million in compensatory damages and zero in punitive damages from Depp.

 

Depp Vs Heard after Verdict

 

Depp took a sigh of relief, stating that “he got his life back”.

 

In a highly televised and closely watched six-week trial that featured graphic testimony revealing the former Hollywood couple’s strained relationship, a Virginia jury concluded on Wednesday that actress Amber Heard defamed ex-husband, actor Johnny Depp with allegations of domestic violence against ex-wife Amber Heard, calling him a wife beater. While, the pirates of the Caribbean star, Depp sued Heard over allegations that Heard had defamed Depp, this battle was also fought viciously in social media.

Depp’s reaction after his victory verdict, “False, very serious and criminal allegations were levied at me via the media, which triggered an endless barrage of hateful content, although no charges were ever brought against me. It had already traveled around the world twice within a nanosecond and it had a seismic impact on my life and my career. And six years later, the jury gave me my life back. I am truly humbled,” he stated

“My decision to pursue this case, knowing very well the height of the legal hurdles that I would be facing and the inevitable worldwide spectacle into my life was only made after considerable thought. From the very beginning, the goal of bringing this case was to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome. Speaking the truth was something that I owed to my children and to all those who have remained steadfast in their support of me. I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that, ” he commented.

He continued, “I am, and have been, overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and the colossal support and kindness from around the world. I hope that my quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up.”

“I also hope that the position will now return to innocent until proven guilty, both within the courts and in the media. I wish to acknowledge the noble work of the Judge, the jurors, the court staff and the Sheriffs who have sacrificed their own time to get to this point, and to my diligent and unwavering legal team who did an extraordinary job in helping me to share the truth.” he added.

He declared that a new chapter had begun. ” Veritas numquam perit. Truth never perishes, “he stated.

 

 

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Heard maintained she was ”disappointed what this verdict meant for women”.

 

“The disappointment I feel today is beyond words. I’m heartbroken that the mountain of evidence still was not enough to stand up to the disproportionate power, influence, and sway of my ex-husband. I’m even more disappointed with what this verdict means for other women. It is a setback. It sets back the clock to a time when a woman who spoke up and spoke out could be publicly shamed and humiliated. It sets back the idea that violence against women is to be taken seriously,” she said in a tweet.

“I believe Johnny’s attorneys succeeded in getting the jury to overlook the key issue of Freedom of Speech and ignore evidence that was so conclusive that we won in the UK. I’m sad I lost this case. But I am sadder still that I seem to have lost a right I thought I had as an American — to speak freely and openly,” she added.

 

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