Insurer settles dispute over Hulk Hogan sex tape

Nautilus and Gawker have reached a settlement over the insurer’s duty to defend after the ex-wrestler’s sex tape was posted.

Insurance News


A long-running legal battle between Nautilus Insurance Co. and Gawker Media reached at end Friday after the two parties agreed to drop all claims and counterclaims with prejudice, footing the bill for their own court costs.

The dispute originated in 2012, when Gawker was sued by Hulk Hogan after it posted a clip of a sex tape involving the ex-professional wrestler and a friend’s wife. Hogan sought $100 million in damages from Gawker, citing its “intentional, outrageous, irresponsible and despicable conduct” in posting the tape online.

The media company applied for legal coverage from Nautilus under a commercial general liability policy.

Scottsdale-based Nautilus refused to cover Gawker, saying another of its insurers—which provides its E&O media liability policy—was responsible for the payment. Nautilus sued Gawker over the dispute, asserting the CGL policy it issued was only meant to cover injury resulting from accidents taking place in Gawker’s Manhattan office—not the “emotional distress and mental anguish” Hogan claims to have suffered due to Gawker’s actions.

Nautilus sought a declaratory judgment affirming their position while continuing to pay out for Gawker’s defense cost, which it hoped later to recoup through the courts.

Gawker responded with a cross-motion for summary judgment, asking the court to declare that under New York law, a CGL policy would “indisputably include emotional distress and mental anguish.”

With Friday’s agreement, both legal actions were abandoned.

The exact terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

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