Johnny Depp appeals Amber Heard’s $2 million libel settlement
On Wednesday, Johnny Depp appealed a Virginia court’s decision that his attorney defamed his ex-wife Amber Heard.
After a six-week trial, a jury decided that Heard had defamed Depp and awarded him $10.35 million in damages.
Heard’s countersuit against Depp for slander resulted in a $2 million award, despite the fact that Heard ultimately lost the defamation case.
Depp suggested the court “should reverse the judgement on Ms. Heard’s counterclaim,” but otherwise supported the jury’s verdict.
The records claimed, “The jury’s emphatic favourable verdict on all three defamatory statements alleged in his complaint fully vindicated Mr. Depp and restored his reputation,”
“However, the trial court was confronted with a number of novel and complex legal and factual issues, and although the trial court decided the vast majority of those issues sensibly and correctly, a few rulings were erroneous.”
A jury agreed with Heard that Depp was “vicariously liable” for his attorney’s statements to a tabloid in 2020, and they awarded her $2 million as a result of the trial.
Depp’s attorneys contended in the appeal that their client was not responsible for the claims made by Adam Waldman because he had hired him as an independent contractor.
It was also contentious to show that Waldman had “actual malice” in his actions.
The filings claim that “No evidence of Mr. Waldman’s actual malice was presented at trial, so the judgement against Mr. Depp cannot be sustained,”
Depp’s legal team also contended that Waldman’s comments were not defamatory because they amounted to a “insufficient to support a charge of defamation” statement of opinion.
Initially, the “Pirates of the Caribbean” star demanded a settlement of $50 million because of an op-ed Heard wrote for the Washington Post in 2018 in which she recounted domestic abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-partner, without naming him by name. Heard filed an opposing lawsuit seeking $100,000,000 in compensation for his losses.
Heard appealed the decision in less than a month.
A representative for Heard said, “We believe the court made errors that prevented a just and fair verdict consistent with the First Amendment. We are therefore appealing the verdict,”
A representative for Depp has stated that Heard’s appeal has no merit.
“The jury listened to the extensive evidence presented during the six-week trial and came to a clear and unanimous verdict that the defendant herself defamed Mr. Depp in multiple instances,” a spokesperson said. “We remain confident in our case and that this verdict will stand.”