By: Heather S. Heidelbaugh, Esq.
The defamation trial of Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard has captured the nation’s attention. The case resulted from an Op-Ed written by Amber Heard in which she referred to herself as a ‘public figure representing domestic abuse.’ Although Ms. Heard did not name Mr. Depp in the Editorial, he alleged ‘defamation by implication’ because the readers of the Op-Ed likely knew she was referring to him, her former husband. Mr. Depp sued Ms. Heard for $50 million in damages for both loss of business opportunities as well as general loss of reputation damages and emotional distress. Ms. Heard countersued because Mr. Depp’s counsel called her allegations of domestic abuse a “hoax”. Mr. Depp testified he filed the case because he wanted to discover how her false accusations got published, get the truth out, and clear his name. The case was tried for 7 weeks.
Today the jury returned a verdict for Johnny Depp on 3 defamatory statements and awarded him $10 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages (which will be reduced by Virginia state law to $350,000.00). The jury also awarded Amber Heard on 1 defamatory statement made by Depp’s lawyer that Amber and her friends had faked a crime scene, and awarded her $2 million in compensatory damages, but no punitive damages.
In Pennsylvania, a person who has been defamed only has 1 year to sue from the date the defamation was published or the defamation is discovered. Defamation cases have one of the shortest statute of limitations for all civil cases and therefore action must be taken immediately.
Leech Tishman’s lawyers have extensive experience trying and winning defamation cases in Federal and State Courts. If you need assistance with a defamation matter (slander is an oral communication, libel is a written communication) please feel free to reach out to the Leader of Leech Tishman’s Defamation: Libel, Slander, and Commercial Disparagement Practice, Heather S. Heidelbaugh, Partner, at email@example.com, 412-261-1600.
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Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl is a full-service law firm dedicated to assisting individuals, businesses, and institutions. Leech Tishman offers legal services in business restructuring & insolvency, corporate matters, employment & labor, estates & trusts, intellectual property, litigation & alternative dispute resolution, and real estate. In addition, the firm offers a wide range of legal services to clients in the aviation & aerospace, cannabis, construction, emerging cyber technologies, energy & natural resources, healthcare, and hospitality industries. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Leech Tishman also has offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, and Washington, D.C.