Earlier this month, a group of Gawker Media employees got together at the company’s headquarters to celebrate its 14-year anniversary. However, one vital ex-employee at Gawker Media was not present at the party. This is because the ex-editor needed to appear in Florida court for a hearing involving his former boss, Nick Denton, and wrestler Hulk Hogan.
Hogan sued Nick Denton for invasion of privacy over the release of a sex tape starring Hogan and the wife of his friend. Earlier this year, Hogan and received a court award of over $140 million in financial damages. Now, Hogan wants to collect the money, but Denton and Gawker are doing everything they can to prevent it. The editor was also ordered to pay Hogan.
In order to avoid the multimillion dollar payout, both Denton and Gawker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy proceedings have offered temporary protection to prevent Hogan from taking control of both these parties’ assets. The ex-Gawker editor may also need to file for personal bankruptcy protection depending on how the lawsuit proceeds. It wasn’t noted whether he filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
The editor submitted a screenshot of his bank account statement to the court on Monday showing that he only had $1,505.78 in his currently frozen bank account. The editor said that he is trying to find a lawyer who can advise him on what to do.
Florida and federal courts decide if bankruptcy can protect a debtor from lawsuit awards on a case-by-case basis. In some situations, it is certainly possible to receive permanent protection from a lawsuit award through bankruptcy. However, other times, courts can override bankruptcy and force Florida residents to pay the amount that is due.
Debtors facing the need to pay an exorbitant court ruling may want to discuss the matter with an experienced legal counselor to determine what their rights and legal options are.
Source: Forbes, “Ex-Gawker Editor On The Verge Of Bankruptcy After Hulk Hogan’s Lawyers Freeze His Assets,” Matt Drange, Aug. 11, 2016