Amber Heard is seeking to appeal or throw out the June verdict in the high-profile defamation lawsuit between her and ex-husband Johnny Depp.
In a lengthy filing in Virginia court on Friday, the Aquaman actress’s legal team argued the ruling had a number of issues, including poor legal reasoning, an improperly vetted jury, and excessively awarded damages.
Last month, a seven-person civil jury ruled largely in favor of Mr. Depp in a split verdict, finding that Ms. Heard had defamed him in a 2018 op-ed in The Washington Post in which she implied he had abused her but did not name him.
The decision ordered Ms. Heard to pay the Pirates of the Caribbean star$15m in punitive and compensatory damages.
It also held one of Mr. Depp’s attorneys defamed Ms. Heard, who was awarded $2m in punitive damages.
In the Friday court documents, Ms. Heard’s attorney Elaine Bredehoft said the case rests on flawed legal logic, arguing Mr. Depp’s claims “proceeded solely on a defamation by implication theory, abandoning any claims that Ms. Heard’s statements were actually false”.
Ms. Bredehoft also argued that Mr. Depp’s legal team said it would focus on the period after the op-ed came out, but instead widened to encompass events and statements from back in 2016.
The motion calls a new trial, a new verdict, or a dismissal of Mr Depp’s complaint altogether.
In it, Ms. Heard also claims there were problems with the jury’s credibility. The filing points to Juror 15 as proof, arguing that there appears to be a 25-year discrepancy between their birthday on court records and in publicly available information, raising questions about the thoroughness of the vetting process.
Ben Chew, who leads Mr. Depp’s legal team, told Courthouse News the appeal was “what we expected, just longer, no more substantive”.
In the course of the trial, which lasted from April until June, the dispute between the two actors became something much bigger than a narrow defamation proceeding.
Instead, the case attracted feverish attention online and in person, including from parasocial groups of fans, and was seen by some as the death knell of the #MeToo movement.