Erin Andrews' Stalking Lawsuit Goes to Court: Why She's Suing for $75 Million
By Raphael Chestang
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Erin Andrews seemed to struggle to fight back tears in court on Tuesday. The 37-year-old sportscaster sat in the front row during opening arguments in her $75 million lawsuit against West End Hotel Partners and her convicted stalker, Michael David Barrett.
The lawsuit stems from an incident nearly eight years ago in which Andrews was secretly videotaped naked inside of her hotel room at the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University.
Barrett pleaded guilty to altering peepholes and secretly shooting videos of the former ESPN reporter in 2009 and was sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison.
In the lawsuit, jurors will have to determine whether West End Hotel Partners, the franchise owner of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt, was negligent with regard to keeping Andrews reasonably safe.
The hotel's defense strategy seems to be predicated on demonstrating that it wasn't foreseeable and that there was nothing they could do to protect Andrews from this violation of privacy. In its opening, the hotel claimed that it too was a victim of Barrett.
"He deceived, he connived, he stalked -- that's what Mr. Barrett did," lawyer Marc Dedman told jurors.
As the case continues, Andrews' attorneys are expected to call witnesses who could testify about the emotional distress Andrews may have suffered as a result of the release of the peephole videos that were eventually posted online. Those potential witnesses include some of her former ESPN colleagues, her agent, and dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy, who partnered with her on Dancing With the Stars.
Since the peeping Tom scandal, Andrews has left her job at ESPN. In 2010, she did her stint as a DWTS contestant, finishing third. She took up her current position on the show as co-host in 2014. The same year, she replaced Pam Oliver as the NFL sidelines reporter for Fox.