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Hallman & Wingate Obtains $19,728,600 Jury Verdict Against Hustler Magazine

On June 17, Rick Decker of counsel to Hallman & Wingate won a $19,728,600 jury verdict for the Estate of Nancy Benoit against Hustler Magazine's parent company, LFP Publishing Group, LLC.  Hustler publshed 24-year old nude photographs of Nancy Benoit seven months after she and her only son, Daniel, were murdered by her husband, championship professional wrestler, Chris Benoit.  Nancy had ordered the pictures to be destroyed just days after they were taken in 1985.  Hustler obtained the pictures shortly after her murder, knowing that she had ordered the images to be destroyed.  Neverthelss, Hustler published these images in the March 2008 edition of Hustler Magazine, claiming that the photographs were "newsworthy."  The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled as a matter of law that the images were not "newsworthy" and that Hustler Magazine violated Nancy's right of publicity.  After a four-day trial, the jury awarded $125,000 in compensatory damages and $19,603,600 in punitive damages, which is 10% of LFP Publishing Group's net worth in 2008.
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