Is Your Reputation Worth $5.8 Million? Judge in “Girls Gone Wild” Case Thinks So

This is the cover of the DVD that Tamara Favazza became an unwilling participant in. Not exactly a flattering portrayal?

So, here’s the story.  Tamara Favazza was twenty years old back in 2005 when she went to a party where the infamous “Girls Gone Wild” film crews were doing their thing.  While they were partying the night away, someone grabbed her tank top and pulled it up, showing her breasts to everyone.  This included the “Girls Gone Wild” cameras.  Years later, a friend of Favazza’s husband points out that he saw her in one of the videos with her breasts exposed.  Favazza never gave anyone permission for any such thing, so she filed a lawsuit against them.  She cited her lack of consent and damage to her reputation as the reason for the lawsuit.

In 2010, the case went to a jury trial.  The jury sided with “Girls Gone Wild,” but attorneys for Tamara were able to get a retrial.  This time around, a judge heard the case.  As the details seeped out in courtroom testimony, it turns out that the person that lifted Tamara’s tank top was actually an employee of the company.  They purposely staged situations like that to get material.  This time, the judge agreed, and Favazza was awarded the lofty sum of $5.8 million.  Naturally, attorneys for “Girls Gone Wild” will appeal this, but it brings out some more interesting philosophical questions.

Looking at the evidence, it does appear that Favazza was wronged here.  In the video, she even resists what happened to her and it was clear that she said “No” when her clothing was pulled up.  But now she stands to be a multi-millionaire from the incident.  Granted, the sum is probably designed to punish the perpetrator, but it also is an unbelievable sum of money to be awarded for going to a party in college.

So, what do you think?  Is damage to your reputation worth $5.8 million, even if you would have never made that much in your life any other way?  What is the cost of a reputation?  And what should Tamara Favazza have been awarded in this case?
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