Wednesday, December 12, 2012

UPDATE: Wrestler Victim's Heirs' Privacy Suit Pinned by High Court

Chris Benoit, one of the World Wrestling Enter...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The U.S. Supreme Court this week denied certiorari in the invasion of privacy suit brought by the heirs of Nancy Toffoloni Benoit against Hustler magazine, thereby leaving in place the decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that overturned a jury verdict for the plaintiff, the Associated Press reported.

In 2008, Hustler published, without permission, then-24-year-old nude modeling photos of Nancy Toffoloini Benoit, one year after she and her seven-year-old son were strangled in June 2007, by her professional wrestler husband Chris Benoit, who then killed himself (see "TUOL" posts 1/27/12, 6/20/11). A jury returned a $19.6 million verdict against Hustler in 2011 that the trial court reduced to $250,000 before the 11th Circuit tossed the verdict altogether in May 2012.

The appellate court said the jury's mammoth punitive damages award was unfounded because Hustler reasonably--though wrongly--believed her photos' "newsworthiness" were a defense against an invasion of privacy claim.

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