Sunny Hostin

What Erin Andrews' Testimony Means for Her $75 Million Lawsuit

by Meghan Keneally for ABC News

Mark Humphrey / AP Photo

ABC News | March 2, 2016 - The defense has taken over in Erin Andrews' civil suit, but the sportscaster’s testimony has had a significant impact on the course of the case, legal experts say.

During two days of testimony, Andrews, 37, detailed how the release of a secretly recorded video showing her naked has impacted her life. Andrews testified as part of a $75 million lawsuit against the operator of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University, where Michael David Barrett altered the peephole to her hotel room and recorded a video of her that he subsequently released online in 2009.

She is also suing Barrett, who was previously convicted of stalking her and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

She has to prove to the jury that she's suffering from severe and permanent emotional distress and so she has to explain to this jury that this has had an extreme effect upon her, and I think she is exhibiting that on the witness stand,” ABC News legal analyst Sunny Hostin said on "Good Morning America" today.

West End Hotel Partners, which owns and operates that Nashville Marriott, has said that Barrett's criminal actions were his responsibility, not theirs.

Now that Andrews’ attorneys have rested their case after calling a string of witnesses, the defense has taken over and has raised questions about how much she was impacted from a financial standpoint.

Steven and Paula Andrews, the parents of sportscaster and television host Erin Andrews, listen during court proceedings, March 1, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Mark Humphrey / AP Photo

"No one in that courtroom is suggesting that Erin Andrews isn’t a victim,” ABC News legal analyst Dan Abrams said. “The question is how much is it worth and who should pay it."

Legal experts say the emotional impact has become even more important to show by Andrews’ side, since the defense is trying to prove that there is no noticeable negative financial impact. According to Hostin, it's going to come down to the jury's view of how hurt Andrews was in light of a "post-Kim Kardashian world where you do become famous sometimes because of leaked video tapes."

"I wonder if the jurors will think 'Oh, well, you've become more famous because of this ... how has this really injured you?'" Hostin said.

Sportscaster and television host Erin Andrews testifies, March 1, 2016, in Nashville. Mark Humphrey / AP Photo

During her cross examination on Tuesday, the defense addressed all of the endorsements -- from Diet Mountain Dew to Reebok -- that the sideline reporter has signed with since the video was released in 2009.

Abrams said that “as ugly as it may seem,” it is critical for the defense to determine how, if at all, her career has been impacted in order for the jury to decide how much money she should be awarded.

"Most of the damages she’s seeking are emotional damages as opposed to professional damages," Abrams told ABC News.

For her part, Andrews agreed when the defense attorney said Tuesday that her income has “gone up substantially” since the release of the video.

The possible payout for the case is up in the air. According to The Tennessean, an earlier version of a similar lawsuit Andrews filed sought $10 million, but the current iteration has Andrews’ attorneys asking for $75 million.

"What you’re really trying to do as an attorney," Abrams said, "is to provide a jury with some guidance of what you’re suggesting."

Abrams noted that in many but not all “big, big” jury payouts, appellate courts tend to reduce the initial award amount if there isn’t a settlement between the two parties.

Back to top ↑