Gawker limits liability in 'McSteamy' threesome caseTue Dec 15, 2009 @ 12:33AM PST
By Eriq Gardner
Gawker caused a mini-sensation three months ago by posting video of a three-way naked romp involving "Grey's Anatomy" star Eric Dane, wife/actress Rebecca Gayheart and former beauty queen Kari Ann Peniche.
A threesome is hot enough. A threesome with lawyers is downright dirty.The stars of the video sued for copyright infringement.
On Monday, Gawker took a big step toward limiting its liability in the "McSteamy" scandal when California District Court Judge George Wu ruled in favor of the website on some issues raised in its motion to strike. Most importantly, the judge ruled that Dane and Gayheart can't recover statutory damages or attorney's fees because they registered the tape with the U.S. Copyright Office after the alleged infringement.
The ruling doesn't foreclose the possibility that the gossip website will be enjoined from distributing the sex tape (which is still available on the site) or ordered to pay actual damages. (How Dane and Gayheart prove actual damages is something we'll have to investigate at a later date.) For now, the ruling represents a legal victory for Gawker and its lawyer, Alonzo Wickers at LA's Davis Wright Tremaine.
Just last week, in response to the motion to strike, Dane and Gayheart's lawyers at Marty Singer's firm had criticized their counterparts for a "premature motion" that "serves little purpose but to waste the parties' time and money..."
Image via gawker.com.