Tuesday, January 7, 2020

UPDATED: Re The Sandmann Case

This is John Hinderaker's take. As I commented earlier, the circumstances strongly suggested that Sandmann has received a substantial settlement:

Settlements of this sort are almost always subject to confidentiality agreements that prohibit the plaintiff from telling the press how much he got. Often it is the defendant that doesn’t want the world to know how much it paid; sometimes it is the plaintiff (or more likely his lawyers) who doesn’t want the world to know how little he settled for. 
In this instance, I am pretty sure that it was CNN, one of the main malefactors, that didn’t want the world to know how much it paid Sandmann as a result of its pathetically biased reporting. Now Sandmann’s lawyers can use CNN’s contribution, likely in the mid six figures, to fund their ongoing battle against the Washington Post, NBC and any others who slandered the boy. That is how the system works, and in this case, it appears to be working for the good.

UPDATE: While I simply inserted Hinderaker's take without adding, I commented in a response last night that I was skeptical of Hinderaker's guess of "mid 6 figures" for the settlement. Hinderaker, of course, is a highly experienced trial attorney. Nevertheless, there were reasons for skepticism, beyond that it may have been a simple misstatement. It's possible that in his view "mid 6 figures" extends up to the 75 percentile range for 6 figures.

Sandmann's attorney is Lin Wood, the biggest name in defamation law. If Wood were willing to accept as low as ~ $500K from CNN when the lawsuit was progressing well, that would be a tremendous blow to Wood's brand (and future earning power) and would provide WaPo and NBC (and other potential defendants) incentive to play the hardest of hardball. So the balancing of interests moving toward a settlement--which all parties would want--would include significant compensation for Sandmann and Wood, yet neither so little as to encourage defense stonewalling nor so much as to make the defendants desperate to resist.

I figured we'd soon be getting informed "guesses" re the amount of the settlement, and now this morning Mike Cernovich is stating that the settlement was in the "7 figure range, maybe 8 figures." More specifically, he estimates $750K to $2.1 million. His estimate is based on brand damage to CNN, which he claims could have been "catastrophic" based on the very public nature of the CNN brand and the direct damage to their brand as a news organization. In other words, because of the nature of CNN's business, and the likelihood that this case will be used repetitively to attack CNN, CNN was under pressure to get this case behind them. Cernovich believes his guesstimate of the settlement--what Sandmann's team was willing to accept--offered CNN a viable way out. And maybe even a lesson learned.

Now the other defendants may believe they see a path forward to settlements they can live with, based on the CNN settlement. That would be greatly preferable for them than the prospect of death dealing judgments.


  1. Leaving aside Nick's need for $$ for other suits, six figures is chump-change, for making a kid a target with "the smirk seen around the world".
    I fear that, until a huge $$ amount emerges, the Left will crow that Nick settled for nickels (and no admission of guilt), and that this vindicates the MSM's coverage of him.

    1. I wondered about that "mid 6 figures." Hard to believe that that would keep the lawyers paid and hard at work. I have to believe it's more. Maybe we'll get more info later.

    2. Indeed, certainly a different bunch of lawyers than I've had experience with. Seems something akin to pulling your 'vette into the local convenience store and telling your date you're only getting $5 worth because you need to break a $20.
      Tom S.

  2. "nor so much as to make the defendants desperate to resist."
    As long as Wood wasn't demanding a public admission of CNN's guilt, I'd guess that CNN would be willing to pay far more than $2.1 million to avoid having to issue such
    an admission.
    Maybe $210 million would make the defendants desperate to resist, but $2.1 million?

    1. Right--I'm sure that factored into the negotiations.