Hulk Hogan scored an important victory in his sex tape lawsuit against Gawker on Thursday after Judge Pamela Campbell ruled to keep over a dozen documents produced by Gawker Media sealed.

Judge Campbell reportedly sealed 15 separate documents in order to protect the former WWE star’s right to privacy.

Lawyers for Gawker and the Associated Press told Law360 that they were extremely disappointed.

Rogers told Law360 on Friday that his clients were disappointed with the decision. The standard for sealing a court filing under Florida law is high, and judges in the state often apply close, document-by-document scrutiny before allowing information to remain secret, he said.

“We need to be able to evaluate, as members of the public, the job that the courts are doing,” Rogers said, adding that the public has taken a particularly strong interest in Hogan’s case.

Seth Berlin of Levine Sullivan Koch & Schulz LLP, an attorney for Gawker, told Law360 in an email that he also disagreed with the ruling.

“Given the obvious public interest in this case, it is truly unfortunate that a large number of records remain sealed, and that the public is prevented from seeing both sides’ arguments and the basis for many of the court’s most significant rulings,” Berlin said. “The public should be able to know what happens in its court system.”

Hogan, a well-known professional wrestler formerly with World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., is suing Gawker over the publication of a secretly videotaped incident in 2006 showing Hogan engaging in private sexual conduct with Heather Clem, the then-wife of disc jockey Todd Alan Clem, better known as Bubba the Love Sponge.

Other media organizations had lobbied for the documents to be made public, including First Look Media, the Tampa Bay Times and The Associated Press. The Judge still decided to seal the documents.

By Glenn Erby

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