25th October 2022

With the Fairfax County Trial of Depp V Heard reaching a verdict midweek, there was only one show in town up for discussion this morning and as it had been referenced on the last occasion, it was fitting that it could now be revisited with the benefit of the decision. 

Seamus Gunn highlighted that in essence it was a split decision and that both parties had succeeded to some degree. He said that in this jurisdiction, such a decision could have an implication in relation to costs. But it was Johnny Depp’s camp that was hailing victory. He pointed out that the ceiling for punitive damages, while he was awarded $ 5 million, was $ 350,000K, which would taper back his decree. He said that while Ms. Heard in his view had credibility in relation to the allegations she was making, it did not matter how much mud was slung, as Depp won in the Court of social media. He was of the view that Depp had a well-oiled PR strategy that worked in his favor, it garnered massive support on social media which may have proved decisive in the overall outcome. He said that the reputational stakes were such that this was a case that Johnny Depp could not afford to lose. The case in England against the Sun in 2020 was also referred to and the different outcome in the UK jurisdiction. Our contributor thought that while Depp may have won in Fairfax County, there could be another salvo in the case as he would not rule out an appeal, although it would be unlikely to attract the same social media interest, as this had been fully played out over the past 6 weeks. He considered that it would be the “Wagatha Christie” Trial on this side of the pond i.e. in the UK, that would attract all the media attention in the coming weeks when a verdict was anticipated in Rooney V Vardy. 

The full interview and the Q&A on some interesting land matters that followed can be listened to below.