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Bankruptcy Judge Approves Settlement in Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker Lawsuit


Hulk Hogan (Pool Photo)After almost 50 months of litigation, a short trial, a secret benefactor, a second lawsuit, two separate bankruptcies, a journalist having a nine figure hold placed on his checking account, and who knows what else, it’s over. On Tuesday, federal Judge Stuart Bernstein officially approved the $31 million settlement of Hulk Hogan’s invasion of privacy lawsuit against Gawker Media, company founder/publisher Nick Denton, and reporter A.J. Daulerio.

The settlement terms with Daulerio were not approved until Monday night, and allow him to speak freely about the case, which had been the biggest obstacle to the writer settling previously. Forbes spoke to both Daulerio and lawyer David Marburger, with the latter confirming that his client “walks away without any financial burden.”

In addition, as part of Gawker’s bankruptcy liquidation plan, the Wall Street Journal reports that Judge Bernstein signed off on granting former writers releases from future lawsuits filed over their work for the company. In exchange, the writers gave up their contractual indemnification rights forcing the company to cover legal judgments against them, as those are considered debts for the purposes of a bankruptcy proceeding.

Bernstein declined to rule that this should always apply in cases where media companies go bankrupt, though.

Meanwhile, according to The Street, in addition to the previously reported settlements of the cases brought by Hogan and two other clients of Charles Harder, the lawyer funded by billionaire Peter Thiel, two more cases against Gawker were settled. Former Major League Baseball player Mitch Williams is getting $125,000 for his lawsuit over an article about his actions as a little league coach, while Chicago lawyer Meanith Huon gets $100,00 for his case stemming from an article about a defamation lawsuit he filed against another blog.

[Photo: Pool photo]

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David Bixenspan is a writer, editor, and podcaster based in New York.