Amber Heard’s request to have a Virginia judge overturn the $10 million judgment that had been handed down against her and in favor of her ex-husband, Johnny Depp, was denied on Wednesday by a judge in that state.
In a high-profile civil trial last month, Depp prevailed in a defamation action against Heard. Heard’s $2 million counterclaim against Depp was successful.
In an effort to have the decision against Depp overturned, or at least have a mistrial declared, Heard filed a request earlier this month.
One of the jurors seemed to be a victim of mistaken identity, which was one of the reasons given by her attorneys.
Judge Penney Azcarate dismissed all of Heard’s allegations in an order, stating that the issue of the jurors was not relevant and that Heard lacked evidence of prejudice.
“The juror was vetted, sat for the entire jury, deliberated, and reached a verdict. The only evidence before this court is that this juror and all jurors followed their oaths, the court’s instructions, and orders. This court is bound by the competent decision of the jury,” Azcarate wrote.
After Heard’s 2018 op-ed piece on domestic violence for The Washington Post, in which she called herself “a public figure representing domestic abuse,” Depp filed a $50 million lawsuit in Fairfax County, Virginia.
Even though Depp’s name wasn’t mentioned, his lawyers said the story was still defamatory because it mentioned the abuse claims she made when she filed for divorce in 2016.
As a result, Heard brought a defamation case for $100 million. Her counterclaim was reduced to a few words made by one of Depp’s lawyers during pre-trial proceedings in which the lawyer claimed that Heard’s accusations of abuse were false.
Depp was paid $15 million, while Heard’s counterclaim was given $2 million.
In Virginia, the law says that punitive damages can only be up to $350,000, so a $15 million verdict was reduced to $10.35 million.
The judge’s judgment from Wednesday did not elaborate on why the rest of Heard’s claims were dismissed.
Heard said that the $10 million verdict isn’t backed up by the evidence and seems to show that jurors didn’t look at the effects of the 2018 op-ed piece as they were supposed to. Instead, they looked at how the alleged abuse hurt Depp’s reputation in general.
The defense for Heard has also claimed that the verdicts against Depp and Heard are illogical.
“The jury’s dueling verdicts are inconsistent and irreconcilable.” Her lawyers, Elaine Bredehoft and Benjamin Rottenborn, wrote.
Lawyers for Heard also argued that one of the seven jurors who rendered a judgment had never been called for jury service.
A 77-year-old county resident was served a jury summons, according to court documents. But the man’s son, who shares his name and residence, answered the summons and did his duty.
The lawyers for Heard said that there should be a mistrial because Virginia has strict rules about how jurors have to prove who they are.
They said that the possibility should not be ignored despite the lack of proof that the 52-year-old son, known in court documents only as Juror #15, intentionally or insidiously attempted to replace his father.
“The Court cannot assume, as Mr. Depp asks it to, that Juror 15’s apparently improper service was an innocent mistake. It could have been an intentional attempt to serve on the jury of a high-profile case.” Heard’s lawyers wrote.
Heard may file an appeal with the Virginia Court of Appeals. It’s possible that the arguments brought to the appeal court will differ from those that Judge Azacarate dismissed on Wednesday.
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