Hulk Hogan's 'startling' $115 million verdict could end in Supreme Court, says Bert Fields

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Hulk Hogan Wins Gawker Sex Tape Case

The $115 million that a jury awarded Hulk Hogan from Gawker Media on Friday could end up in the Supreme Court, said leading attorney Bert Fields on Saturday.

"There is the possibility that, ultimately, it could go all the way to the United States Supreme Court," he told TheWrap. "You have a constitutional issue."

The massive award could actually backfire for Hogan, said the famed trial lawyer who has represented Michael Jackson, Tom Cruise and many others in leading media and libel cases.

"The award strikes me as being very, very high and perhaps the plaintiffs may be sorry they got that much, because an appellate court might be somewhat shocked by the amount of the award and thus take a tougher view on the First Amendment right," Fields said.

"Judges are only human. To come in with a $115 million judgment is immediately going to create an emotional reaction," he added. "They can reverse a damage award, which they think is based on passion and prejudice."

Fields also said that the $115 million sum could also "influence, suddenly, their decision on whether this is within his right of privacy or not."

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Hulk Hogan's 'startling' $115 million verdict could end in Supreme Court, says Bert Fields
Hulk Hogan sits in court before the start of his trial Thursday, March 17, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker Media for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (Dirk Shadd/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)
Former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, left, along with attorney Seema Ghatnekar prepare to take a break just after the jury was handed Hogan's case against Gawker Media for deliberations on Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker for $100 million for posting a video of him having sex with his former best friend's wife. Hogan contends the 2012 post violated his privacy. (Boyzell Hosey/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)
Gawker attorney Michael Sullivan addresses the jury during his closing statements in the trial of former professional wrester Hulk Hogan's lawsuit against Gawker media, in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, March 18, 2016. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker for $100 million for posting a video of him having sex with his former best friend's wife. Hogan contends the 2012 post violated his privacy. (Boyzell Hosey/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)
Hulk Hogan talks with his attorneys before the start of his trial Thursday, March 17, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker Media for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (Dirk Shadd/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)
Judge Pamela A. M. Campbell raises her hand to swear in the jury during the Hulk Hogan's trial Thursday, March 17, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker Media for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (Dirk Shadd/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool)
Hulk Hogan talks with his attorneys before his trial Thursday, March 17, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker Media for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (Dirk Shadd/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool) MANDATORY CREDIT
Hulk Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, testifies in court on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, during his trial against Gawker Media, in St Petersburg, Fla. Hogan and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying that his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape filmed of Hogan and his then-best friendâs wife. (John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool) MANDATORY NY POST OUT
Former Gawker employee A.J. Daulerio, right, testifies at the Pinellas County Courthouse in St. Petersburg, Fla., Monday, March 14, 2016. Hulk Hogan is suing Gawker Media for $100 million for posting an edited video showing him having sex with his then-best friend's wife. Lawyers for Gawker Media began presenting their case on Monday. (Stephen Yang/New York Post via AP, Pool)
Gawker Media founder Nick Denton, left, and reporter A.J. Daulerio, right, sit inside a Pinellas County courtroom, Monday, March 14, 2016, in St Petersburg, Fla. Hulk Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker Media for the publication of a sex tape involving the former wrestler. Lawyers for Gawker Media began presenting their client's case on Monday. (Stephen Yang/New York Post via AP, Pool)
University of Florida journalism professor Mike Foley testifies during Hulk Hogan's trial against Gawker Media Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool) MANDATORY NY POST OUT
Hulk Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, waits in the courtroom during a break Wednesday, March 9. 2016, in his trial against Gawker Media in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool) MANDATORY NY POST OUT
Gawker Media reporter A.J. Daulerio attends Hulk Hogan's trial against Gawker Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool) MANDATORY NY POST OUT
Gawker Media founder Nick Denton attends Hulk Hogan's trial against Gawker Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool) MANDATORY NY POST OUT
Hulk Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, leaves the courtroom during a break Wednesday, March 9. 2016, in his trial against Gawker Media in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool) MANDATORY NEW YORK POST OUT
Pinellas County Judge Pamella Campbell, second right, meets with attorneys at the bench Wednesday, March 9. 2016, during Hulk Hogan's lawsuit trial against Gawker Media in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool) MANDATORY NEW YORK POST OUT
Gawker Media's Nick Denton, left, and A.J. Daulerio, right, listens to testimony during Hulk Hogan's lawsuit trial against Gawker Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool) MANDATORY NEW YORK POST OUT
Hulk Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, takes a moment as attorneys talk to the judge in court on Tuesday, March 8, 2016, during his trial against Gawker Media, in St Petersburg, Fl. Hogan and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying that his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted one minute and forty one seconds of a sex tape filmed of Hogan and his then-best friendâs wife. (John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool) MANDATORY NY POST OUT
David Houston, an attorney for Hulk Hogan, testifies Wednesday, March 9, 2016, in Hogan's trial against Gawker Media in St. Petersburg, Fla. Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape of Hogan and his then-best friend's wife. (AP Photo/Steve Nesius, Pool) MANDATORY NEW YORK POST OUT
FILE -In this Tuesday, March 1, 2016 file photo, Terry Bollea, known as professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, watches potential jurors at the Pinellas County Courthouse, in St. Petersburg, Fla., as jury selection began in his case vs. Gawker Media. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday, March 7, 2016, in the civil trial between pro wrestler Hulk Hogan and a popular news website. (Scott Keeler/The Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool, File)
Judge Pamela Campbell listens during a sidebar as Hulk Hogan, whose given name is Terry Bollea, testifies in court on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 during Hogan's trial against Gawker Media, in St Petersburg, Fla. Hogan and his attorneys are suing Gawker for $100 million, saying that his privacy was violated, and he suffered emotional distress after Gawker posted a sex tape filmed of Hogan and his then-best friendâs wife. (John Pendygraft/Tampa Bay Times via AP, Pool) MANDATORY NY POST OUT
ST PETERSBURG, FL - MARCH 07: Terry Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, testifies in his case against the website Gawker at the Pinellas County Courthouse March 7, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Bollea is taking legal action against Gawker in a USD 100 million lawsuit for releasing a video of him having sex with his best friends wife. (Photo by Boyzell Hosey-Pool/Getty Images)
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The jury ruled that Hogan suffered severe emotional distress over the publication of segments of a tape that featured him having sex with a friend's wife, and that his privacy was invaded by the publication of the footage. The $115 million award was even greater than the $100 million that Hogan had sought.

"The case appears to be whether a public figure has a limited right of privacy," Fields said. "I have always contended that even the most famous public figure has some right of privacy. Very limited, but some."

"Many people believe that once you're a public figure, you have absolutely no right of privacy at all and anything is fair game if it isn't defamatory," Fields said.

The next step is an appeal to a higher state court, but Fields wouldn't be shocked if it goes even higher.

In a statement, Gawker founder Nick Denton said, "We feel very positive about the appeal that we have already begun preparing, as we expect to win this case ultimately."

The decision siding with Hogan tends to support Fields' view, but he admitted that members of the media aren't sure if particular issues, such as sex tapes, are protected by the First Amendment.

"Those are all things that will be argued in an appeal," he said.

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