Rebel Wilson could walk away with $400,000 after winning defamation case




Hollywood star Rebel Wilson could win hundreds of thousands of dollars - rather than millions - after winning her month-long court battle for defamation.

A six-woman jury returned a verdict overwhelmingly in the Pitch Perfect actor's favour against "bully" magazine publisher Bauer Media, yesterday. 

The 37-year-old from Sydney proved a series of eight articles published in May 2015 damaged her reputation by claiming she was a serial liar about her real name, age and childhood in order to make it in Hollywood.

Shine Lawyers defamation law principal Peter Coggins said general damages in Australia were capped at about $400,000 (NZD).

He said Wilson could potentially win much more if she proves special damages for lost earnings, but she would need some "pretty strong evidence" and it would be a "complex case" to run.

His comments come despite media reports suggesting Wilson could win millions after missing out on lead movie roles, which typically pay between $5 to $10 million in Hollywood.

"She's come out publicly and said it's not about the damages, but certainly I expect her lawyers are going to mount a case for some sort of special damages award," Mr Coggins said on Friday.

"I'd be surprised if it's a significant award ... she's been making statements that it's really just to vindicate her reputation."

Mr Coggins estimated Wilson would be awarded about $250,000(AUD) in general damages, and possibly an extra $100,000 in special damages for lost earnings.

He also expected she would have at least 50 per cent of her legal costs paid, which he said would have ranged between $500,000 and $1 million.

Mr Coggins described Wilson's court battle as a "watershed" case in Melbourne, which would set a precedent for future defamation trials.

High-profile media lawyer Justin Quill told 3AW that though the star could earn potentially millions in special damages for lost earnings, it was unlikely.

He also predicted Wilson would walk away with about $250,000.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice John Dixon will hear submissions regarding damages on Monday.

"The reason I'm here is not for damages, it's to clear my name," Wilson told reporters.

"I was hoping the jury would do the right thing and send a message to these tabloids, and they've done that."

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