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Why Amber Heard will only have to pay $350,000 of Johnny Depp’s $5m punitive damages

Why Amber Heard will only have to pay $350,000 of Johnny Depp's $5m punitive damages

The jury in the defamation trial of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard reached a verdict, on the third day of deliberation.

And while Depp came out on top – with $10m in compensatory damages, and $5m in punitive damages – it turns out he might not actually see much of that $15m.

Virginia law places a cap of just $350,000 on punitive damages courts may award to punish wrongdoers. If a jury in Virginia awards anything above the cap on punitive damages, judges have to reduce the award to the maximum allowed by law.

Depp sued Heard for $50m for implying he abused her in a 2018 Washington Post op-ed. Although she didn’t name him, he claims her allegations impacted his ability to work. She pursued a $100m counterclaim – it was partly successful, and she was awarded $2m in compensatory damages.

That, of course, means that Depp is the financial victor in this case.

In a statement issued by Depp on Instagram, he called the claims issued by the media “false, very serious and criminal.”

He further thanked the jury for giving him his “life back” and insisted that he brought this case to life “to reveal the truth, regardless of the outcome.”

“I feel at peace knowing I have finally accomplished that,” the actor said before adding that he hopes his “quest to have the truth be told will have helped others, men or women, who have found themselves in my situation, and that those supporting them never give up.”

He concluded: “The best is yet to come and a new chapter has finally arrived.”

Mr Depp was not in court for the verdict but reportedly watched it on TV from the UK where he is working, and was spotted in a pub in Newcastle.

Ms Heard was present in court for the reading of the verdict.



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