The Eleventh Circuit confirmed in First Mercury Insurance Company v. Excellent Computing Distributors, Inc., No. 15-10120 (11th Cir. Apr. 20, 2016), that policyholders need not await adjudication of underlying liability litigation before obtaining a confirmation of coverage. The decision arose from a declaratory judgment action concerning the availability of insurance coverage for an underlying negligence suit against the policyholder. The district court dismissed the declaratory judgment action, finding it “inappropriate to exercise jurisdiction over an action seeking a declaration of the plaintiff’s indemnity obligations absent a determination of the insureds’ liability.” The court also noted that “significant factual questions necessary for a resolution of [the] declaratory judgment action are at issue in the state [court] action, and have yet to be resolved.” But the court did not identify the factual questions.

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On March 18, 2016, a Florida jury awarded Hulk Hogan (real name Terry Bollea) $115 million in damages in his lawsuit against Gawker.com. Mr. Bollea sued Gawker in Florida state court after it published portions of a video showing him having sex with the wife of a former friend, Todd Clem (a DJ better known as Bubba the Love Sponge). Mr. Bollea claimed he did not know he was being filmed and sought $100 million. He claimed, among other things, that his “goodwill, commercial value, and brand [were] substantially harmed” and that he suffered emotional distress by the posting. Following trial, the jury deliberated for six hours and awarded more than the amount sought: $55 million for economic harm and $60 million for emotional distress. On March 21, 2016, the jury awarded an additional $25 million in punitive damages.

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