Johnny Depp Appeals $2M Trial Win For Amber Heard, as the Two Stars Head Back to Court
Published on November 5th, 2022 | Updated on November 5th, 2022 | By FanFest
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“This Court should reverse the judgment on Ms. Heard’s Counterclaim as to the April 27 Waldman Statement, but should otherwise affirm the judgment in Mr. Depp’s favor,” declared a filing today by the ex-Pirates of the Caribbean star in Virginia’s Court of Appeals (read it here).
After almost winning the defamation trial against his Rum Diary co-star and former spouse, Depp is refusing to pay Heard the $2 million that a Virginia jury awarded her in a countersuit claim.
The Aquaman star claimed that Depp was “vicariously liable” for a trio of damning and defaming statements his close pal and ex-lawyer Adam Waldman gave to UK tabloid The Daily Mail, calling Heard’s allegations of violence and abuse at Depp’s often allegedly drunken hand hogwash. Specifically, an April 27, 2020 article where Waldman characterized Heard’s account of an alleged domestic violence incident between the high profile couple on May 21, 2016, as a “hoax” found the jury in his favor.
Depp and his team from Brown Rudnick LLP have taken the first step in their anticipated appeal process.
“The judgment in Ms. Heard’s favor on that lone statement is erroneous,” the 44-page appeal filing succinctly says. “Even if the Court were to conclude that Mr. Depp could be held liable for Mr. Waldman’s allegedly tortious conduct, the trial court nonetheless erred in denying Mr. Depp’s Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion to Strike because Ms. Heard failed to present evidence to establish one of the required elements of defamation,” the document adds .”Specifically, Ms. Heard failed to present evidence that Mr. Waldman acted with actual malice when he made the April 27 Statement.”
Furthermore, Depp’s legal team headed by Ben Chew and Camille Vasquez argues: “At the trial, Ms. Heard did not present any evidence showing that Mr. Depp himself made or directed the allegedly defamatory statements attributed to Waldman. Instead, her argument is based on vicarious liability, contending that because Waldman was his attorney at the time, Mr. Depp should be held responsible for what he said.”
Depp sued Heard in 2019 for $50 million over an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post. In the article, Heard spoke about becoming a “public figure representing domestic abuse.” Depp claimed that the piece “devastated” his career.
Depp’s silence during his and Heard’s 2016 divorce, under what is now characterized as the orders of publicists and lawyers at the time, allowed him to declare he was the one who was abused later on.
After Depp was unsuccessful in trying to get the case dismissed or moved, Heard decided to countersue him for $100 million in 2020. Before his UK libel case against The Sun tabloid resulted in a November 2020 trial fiasco, Murdoch-owned Rupert had already called him a “wife beater” months earlier.
Amber Heard is in the middle of a legal battle with her insurance companies, both of whom are refusing to pay for her defense. She has also been unsuccessful in attempts to have the Virginia verdict overturned. The battle between both sides has been played out publicly, and last month, each side filed their assignment of errors with the court. Depp’s three-point placement in the docket pretty much laid out what was more punctiliously presented today.
Heard’s 16 points of error created the possibility for an ambitious appeal from her side that covers almost every ground.
In the context of today’s Depp appeal, item #15 in Heard’s October 11 filing may prove very telling of where the actress’ formal appeal will put its own thumb on the scale. The Ballard Spahr LLP-filed document noted: “The trial court erred in denying the motion to set aside the jury’s verdict and in ruling that the jury’s verdicts in favor of Mr. Depp on his claims against Ms. Heard and in favor of Ms. Heard on her claims against Mr. Depp were not inherently and irreconcilably inconsistent.”
The delays in the American justice system, combined with the pandemic backlog that still clogs up the courts, mean that it is highly unlikely we will see either Depp or Heard testifying any time soon. However, Depp will be making a spotlighted appearance in Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty Vol. 4 fashion show on Prime Video starting November 9th, where he will be portraying Sun King Louis XV in French director Maïwenn’s upcoming costume drama Jeanne du Barry.
Heard won’t appear as Aquaman again on the big screen until 2023, when the Warner Bros superhero movie finally comes out on Christmas Day.
Covering superheroes, anything dark, horror, and more! Lead writer for Fan Fest