The ex-wife of former NASCAR driver Greg Biffle will receive $250,000 after she was secretly filmed at the couple’s mansion on Lake Norman in Mooresville, NC, lawyers involved in Nicole Biffle’s invasion of privacy trial said.
Nicole Biffle will receive half of the $500,000 awarded by a Mecklenburg County jury this week because of a cap on “punitive” damages under state law, lawyers for both sides told The Charlotte Observer in emails this week.
The cap on punitive damages was triggered when the jury last week awarded Nicole Biffle $1 in “compensatory damages,” the lawyers said. The jury awarded the $1 after finding that Greg Biffle placed hidden cameras in the home without Nicole Biffle’s knowledge, the Observer reported earlier this month. However, the jury initially could not reach a verdict on punitive damages, the lawyers said.
N.C. General Statute 1D-25 says punitive damages “shall not exceed three times the amount of compensatory damages or $250,000, whichever is greater.”
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The $500,000 jury award came after the jury was “hung in favor of my client” on whether the former Cup Series driver was liable for punitive damages, his lawyer, John Buric, told the Observer in an email.
“The vast majority of the jurors found no liability for punitive damages,” Buric said in his email.
To avoid the possibility of a retrial with an uncertain outcome, Buric said Biffle agreed to being “liable” in the case. They already knew that, because of the jury having awarded compensatory damages, the most BIffle would have to pay under the law was $250,000.
That Nicole Biffle received only $1 in the first phase of the trial “speaks volumes, in my opinion,” Buric said.
Buric said Nicole Biffle’s mother, who also sued over hidden cameras at the home, received no jury award.
Nicole Biffle’s lawyer, Amy Simpson, pushed back on the notion that jurors had found no liability on the part of Biffle, in her own email to the Observer.
“The fact is this jury found Mr. Biffle liable,” her email read. “Even without all the facts. It is not a ‘no harm no foul’ situation simply because Mr. Biffle got away with having to pay a small amount compared to his overall net worth.”
Simpson told the Observer that Nicole Biffle’s lawsuit “was not about money, it was about being held accountable to damage to one’s human rights and dignity.”