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Jury awards big payout to Erin Andrews in nude video suit

The decision holds two hotel companies partially responsible for the breach of Andrews’ privacy
The decision holds two hotel companies partia... 02:23

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --A jury has awarded Erin Andrews $55 million in her lawsuit against a stalker who bought a hotel room next to her and secretly recorded a nude video, finding that the hotel companies and the stalker shared in the blame.

Sports personality Erin Andrews has been awar... 19:50

After a full day of deliberations, the panel said the stalker was responsible for 51 percent of the blame and the two hotel companies would share the rest, which comes out to nearly $27 million.

Jurors started deliberations Monday in Andrews' $75 million lawsuit, trying to determine whether the companies should be held partially responsible.

Andrews, a Fox Sports reporter and co-host of the TV show "Dancing with the Stars," wept as jurors announced the verdict.

CBS News watched as the jurors left the courtroom, and as they walked by Andrews she thanked each of them. CBS News' Anna Werner said at least two jurors hugged Andrews on their way out, one even asked for an autograph.

Andrews tweeted out a statement from her verified Twitter account not long after the verdict was reached.

Andrews sued the stalker and the owner and former operator of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt. The hotel is a franchise.

She testified that she was publicly humiliated, shamed and suffers from depression as a result of the videos, which have been viewed by millions of people online. Andrews told jurors that she didn't think her life would ever be the same as a result of the videos, and she still gets taunted by people who have viewed them.

The stalker, Michael David Barrett, admitted to altering hotel room peepholes in Nashville and Columbus, Ohio, and taking nude videos of Andrews and was sentenced to 2½ years in prison.

Barrett was a Chicago-area insurance company executive when he took the videos of Andrews at the Nashville hotel in September 2008.

Barrett said he posted the recordings online after celebrity gossip website TMZ refused to buy them. The only reason he picked Andrews was because she was popular and he saw that she was trending on Yahoo, he said in a deposition played during the trial.

He did not show up for the trial. On Friday, the judge in the case found Barrett at fault. Then it was up to jurors to decide if the hotel companies should share in some of the blame.

Attorneys for the companies argued that while what happened to Andrews was terrible, the stalker should be solely to blame because he was a determined criminal. The attorneys also suggested that Andrews' rise in her career showed she did not suffer severe and permanent distress.

After the verdict, they said they were disappointed and not sure if they would appeal. They noted their cooperation in the FBI investigation and said the case had changed the hotel industry to make rooms more secure.

Defense attorneys suggested Tuesday that the ... 02:34

The sportscaster had maintained that the hotel honored a request by Barrett to be placed in a hotel room next to hers but never told her that he had made the request. She had testified that she would have called the police had she known he wanted to be near her.

The defense disputed this, saying Barrett, who used to be an insurance executive who traveled extensively, schemed his way into getting an adjacent room.

Stephen Barth, a professor at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston, testified that his review of the case showed no evidence that the hotel staff gave the stalker Andrews' room number or intentionally placed him in a room adjacent to the sportscaster.

Andrews had said that she didn't think she would ever get over what happened to her. She testified that she has been depressed and extremely fearful.

But testimony from Dr. Kim Brown of Vanderbilt said Andrews is managing fairly well despite what happened.

"She is a very resilient individual who has a good background and good coping skills," Brown testified.

In the meantime, ESPN, the network that Andrews was working for when she was stalked, is defending itself after she testified last week that her bosses made her do a media interview after the story broke that there were nude videos of her online. Before Barrett's arrest in October 2009, some were suggesting Andrews did it as a publicity stunt -- something she has said caused her an enormous amount of grief.

"Developments in the case have been interpreted by some to mean that ESPN was unsupportive of Erin in the aftermath of her ordeal," Josh Krulewitz, a spokesman for the network, said in a statement. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We have been and continue to be supportive of Erin."

Social media was quick to defend Andrews -- and to convict the Marriott hotel brand name -- after a defense attorney suggested the sports journalist had benefited financially from the release of the nude video.

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