Amber Heard’s Legal Team Argues Johnny Depp Damage Judgment Was ‘Excessive,’ Should Be ‘Set Aside’

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp’s legal battle has lasted for years, starting after the Aquaman actress wrote a 2018 op-ed about her experience with domestic violence. Their dispute and various allegations came to a head when the defamation case began in Virginia, where Depp was largely found the victor. Now Heard’s legal team is arguing that the Depp damage judgment was “excessive” and should be “set aside.”

When the verdict for the defamation trial was finally revealed, Amber Heard was found guilty of three different counts due to her aforementioned op-ed (which didn’t mention Depp’s name). She was ordered by the jury to pay her ex-husband over $10 million, which is truly an outstanding sum. And now, per legal documents procured by Law & Crime, Heard’s lawyers are trying to get those millions set aside, citing other examples where massive legal payouts were diminished after the fact.

Said examples given by Amber Heard’s legal team include Richmond Newspapers, Inc. v. Lipscomb, 234 Va. 277, 300-01 (1987) where the Virginia Supreme Court reduced a legal payoff from $1 million to $100,000. Another example given is Gazette, Inc. v. Harris, 229 Va. 1 (1985), where the compensatory damages of $100,000 was deemed that amount “bore no relationship” to actual money lost in the case.

After giving this background information, the new legal documents took aim at the whopping $10 million that Amber Heard was ordered to pay her ex-husband. Heard’s lawyer previously appeared on television, claiming that Heard would have no way to pay so much money. And now the lawyers are taking aim at the millions, as the new documents read:

Damages in this case cannot be based on actions from 2016 or any damages that Mr. Depp suffered because of the trial in the UK. But The Jury’s $10 million judgment for reputational damages clearly showed that is what the Jury did. Such an award is excessive, and by law, should be set aside.

$10 million is an insane amount of money, even for celebrities like Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. And since the latter star hasn’t been able to work a ton as a result of the defamation case, it stands to reason that she might not have all those millions in the bank. We’ll just have to see if the Virginia courts actually set the millions aside, or adjust how much Heard must pay the Pirates of the Caribbean actor. 

In the same documents, Amber Heard’s legal team also cited Johnny Depp’s 2020 libel case against the U.K. publication The Sun. Depp ultimately lost that case, which Heard’s team has regularly been referencing since the defamation case came down against them. Her representation’s new comments read:

The $10 million verdict is completely out of proportion with anything even remotely related 1 the Op-Ed, especially in light of the Sun article, the lawsuit filed by Mr. Depp, the ensuing trial and admitted negative publicity and the adverse UK Judgment in the same timeframe.

From the looks of it, Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s attorneys were seemingly unable to reach a solution which would see the $10 million payout be thrown away. While Depp’s lawyers originally maintained that Depp was only trying to clear his name and not make money off of the situation, the drama is ongoing. We’ll just have to see if Heard is actually ordered to pay up, or if her legal team is successful with this latest attempt at side stepping the millions.

Professionally, Johnny Depp will soon start filming his first movie since being fired from the Fantastic Beasts franchise. As for Amber Heard, she’ll appear in Aquaman 2 on March 17th, 2023. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.