Why has Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel spent upwards of $10 million funding third-party lawsuits against Gawker? If you believe his interview with the New York Times, Thiel’s willingness to bankroll litigation brought by Hulk Hogan and other plaintiffs stems from several posts, including a 2007 item about Thiel dating men, that have, in his words, “ruined people’s lives for no reason.” But the record of Thiel’s past comments paints a much more complicated picture of his motivation to end Gawker for good.
On Monday, the New York Times reported that Gawker Media CEO Nick Denton had come to believe that a wealthy individual has been funding a steady stream of lawsuits, including three different ones filed by Hulk Hogan alone, against his company. Two journalists at Forbes magazine, Ryan Mac and Matt Drange, are lending credence to Denton’s theory. On Tuesday evening, the pair revealed that the powerful Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel has been secretly underwriting Hulk Hogan’s litigation against Gawker:
The decision by a Florida jury to grant $140 million in damages for a story on Gawker.com about a Hulk Hogan sex tape was extraordinary. The number is far larger than even the plaintiff himself had asked for in relief. It’s a huge pay-day for an indiscretion that would have been quickly forgotten, one among many in the professional wrestler’s personal life.
Earlier this week, LawNewz.com unearthed a $125 million federal sexual assault lawsuit, filed against Donald Trump in 1997, which alleges that the real estate developer violated the plaintiff’s “physical and mental integrity” by touching her intimately, without her consent, after her boyfriend entered into a business relationship with him.
Glenwood Management, the luxury real estate developer cited (but not charged) in both Dean Skelos and Sheldon Silver’s public corruption trials last year, has agreed to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit, the New York Times reports. The suit claimed that Glenwood had violated the Fair Housing Act’s requirements for people with disabilities.
Last summer, Donald Trump filed a $500 million lawsuit against Univision for breach of contract and defamation after the network dumped the Miss Universe pageant (of which Trump was, at the time, a part owner) following the racist unveiling of his presidential campaign. Univision wants the suit dismissed, arguing that Trump’s comments constituted a “cataclysmic” event that voided the contract, the New York Daily News reports. Trump’s lawyers, however, have argued that the remarks were “foreseeable”—that is to say, Univision knew what they were getting.
Last January, the board of elections in the tiny Catskills village of Bloomingburg, New York, attempted to cancel the voting registrations of 160 Hasidic residents, claiming that they needed to provide more proof of residency to vote. Ten of those residents filed a federal lawsuit against the board claiming voter discrimination, and today, the Sullivan County Board of Elections settled for $575,000.
Katrina Pierson is an impressive figure, if only for her ability to out-batshit her employer, Donald Trump. She serves as a campaign spokesperson and talking head, frequently appearing on cable news to offer summaries of Trump’s, discriminatory policy proposals and his general hardline xenophobia and bigotry—which makes it, perhaps, a little funny that once she sued her boss for racial discrimination.
There’s an old joke that goes something like: “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible,” says one Subway customer to another. “Yeah, I know,” says the second guy, “and such small portions.” Well, those two customers really exist, and they sued the company for false advertising back in 2013. In an attempt to finally settle the case this week, Subway agreed to start measuring its footlong sandwiches to make sure they really live up to their names.
Jennifer Connell, the woman who briefly looked like a monster to the world because she sued her nephew for breaking her wrist by jumping into her arms for a hug, went on the Today show this morning to clarify that she was actually trying to recover money from an insurance company, not a small child.
An Upper East Side aunt is suing her pre-teen nephew for six figures over a broken wrist she suffered when he excitedly jumped into her arms to hug her at his 8th birthday party. Her lawsuit claims his “negligent” and “careless” show of affection caused her serious injuries and losses, noting “I was at a party recently and it was difficult to hold my hors d’oeuvres plate.” Damn.