Lawyers many times have to get creative in representing their clients. An excellent example of this is occurring this week in a St Petersburg, Florida courtroom. Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan) is suing Gawker, a website publisher, for defamation for having released a videotape of Mr. Bollea having sex with a friend’s wife.
Gawker, through their counsel, is arguing that Mr. Bollea was not defamed. In fact, he went on radio and TV in the days following the release to discuss it and his own sexual abilities.
Mr. Bollea during his testimony says that Terry Bollea was devastated by the video release. Terry Bollea has never been the same since. However, the person who went on TV after the release was “Hulk Hogan,” the persona created by Terry Bollea over the years. The release of the video did not embarrass Hulk Hogan. In fact, he used the opportunity to enhance that persona.
We will have to wait for the jury verdict to see if the jury is able to make this distinction between Terry Bollea, the person, and Hulk Hogan, the persona. However, it is a very interesting legal argument regardless of the result.
Every case is different and having legal counsel who thinks outside the box can many times be the difference between success and failure. In the practice of law as in many professions, experience matters.