Even though a jury ruled in Johnny Depp‘s favor in his blockbuster defamation case against Amber Heard, multiple sources are reporting the Aquaman actress plans to appeal the verdict.
And some attorneys and legal minds believe she has a very strong case.
“This shouldn’t have taken place in Virginia,” says Eriq Gardner, former legal editor-at-large at The Hollywood Reporter; now Founding Partner and National Correspondent for Puck. “Neither party has a substantial relationship to the venue.”
Gardner also believes the judge should have ruled before trial there was no defamatory meaning in the three challenged statements. “The op-ed discussed Heard speaking out against sexual violence, becoming a public figure representing domestic abuse, and seeing how institutions protect men.” Gardner continues. “These statements weren’t literally false (so) instead the judge stretched the doctrine of defamation by implication to invite a character trial.”
The writer also believes judge Penney Azcarate should have ruled before trial there was no actual malice, the standard for defaming a public figure and that she should have stopped this case based on international comity that “demands we respect foreign judgements.”
Others are pointing out the mountains of evidence in Heard’s favor Azcarate refused to allow the jury to consider, including medical records, photos of injuries, and a text message from Depp’s assistant in which the former Pirates of the Caribbean actor expressed remorse for kicking Heard.
Another huge mistake many lawyers are pointing to was allowing cameras in the courtroom which contributed to a circus-like atmosphere on social media which quite possibly tainted the views of the un-sequestered jury.
“I’m going to guess Heard appeals on failure to sustain the demurrer; failure to dismiss on grounds of forum non conveniens; failure to dismiss on grounds of res judicata or collateral estoppel; and improper exclusion of relevant evidence,” Virginia lawyer Lee E. Berlik, founder and managing member of BerlikLaw, LLC, says. “… this case is heading to the Virginia Supreme Court [and] only then will a final adjudication be made… on such topics as why was this case tried in Virginia instead of California and why was this case not barred by Virginia’s one-year statute of limitations?”
“… after all is said and done, don’t be surprised to see the Virginia Supreme Court vacate the judgment…”