At issue is how much the Nashville Marriot is at fault for the video Michael Barrett shot of her in 2008
brightcove.createExperiences(); The jury in sportscaster Erin Andrews’s $75 million lawsuit is deliberating over whether Andrews is entitled to damages after a stranger secretly recorded a nude video of her in 2008 at the Nashville Marriott and then posted it on the internet.
Andrews is suing the franchise owner of the Nashville Marriott, West End Partners; the Windsor Capital Group that manages the hotel and Michael Barrett, the man who filmed Andrews by removing peepholes from her door and pointing his cell phone camera into her room.
Barrett pleaded guilty to stalking in 2009 and served prison time. The former delivery truck driver testified during the trial that his motivation for filming Andrews was financial, and that he was “not proud” of what he had done.
Andrews, 37, worked for ESPN at the time the video was shot and now works for Fox Sports. She testified that the video still haunts her. “I think about it every day,” she said.
“One of the worst thoughts I have is when I walk around a stadium … there’s always that thought, as I walk right by the stands, and I think, ‘My God, everyone in this stadium has seen that video.’ ”
The trial hinged on the issue of whether or not the managers of the Nashville Marriott should be held liable for Barrett s actions.
Defense attorneys argued that the incident was a freak occurrence that the hotel couldn’t have prevented, and that Barrett is solely to blame.
Lawyers for Andrews, meanwhile, alleged that hotel employees confirmed to Barrett where Andrews was staying and allowed him to book a room next to hers.
Testimony varied on how Barrett knew where Andrews was staying, and whether a hotel employee told Barrett which room Andrews was in and then allowed him to reserve a room next to hers.
In his closing statement, Andrews’s attorney, Bruce Broillet, said, “Right from the beginning they gave out information that they shouldn’t have and multiple hotel witnesses in this case admitted that was a violation.”
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He added that the hotel should have “cut off the snake at the head” by not telling Barrett that she was staying there, and that the hotel didn’t have proper security because they failed to notice that Barrett had tampered with the peepholes.
“The Nashville Marriott could have just called me and said, ‘We’re putting this man that requested to be next to you [next door]: Is this okay?’ And I could have called the cops and we could have caught him and could have stopped this,” Andrews testified.
Defense Says Hotel Not At Fault for Video
The defense has countered that Barrett, and not the hotel, was at fault. “Are banks responsible for bank robbers?” defense attorney Marc Dedman said in closing arguments.
Defense witness Stephen Barth, a professor of hospitality law at Houston’s Conrad N. Hilton College, said, “It’s my opinion that the [Nashville] Marriott met or exceeded its duty of care to Ms. Andrews on the day this incident occurred.”
Barth compared Barrett’s videotaping of Andrews to bed bugs, saying it’s “impossible to guarantee no bed bugs,” no matter how many times a bed is cleaned or how often rooms are inspected.
The defense also called Herman Turk, Regional Vice President of Windsor Capitol Group, the hotel’s management company, who oversaw the Nashville Marriott in 2008. Turk testified the hotel scored 100 percent on its undercover security assessment examination in June 2008, three months before the video was taken.