I have written earlier about Nicole Eramo, an Associate Dean at the University of Virginia, filing a defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine for the way she was portrayed in a now discredited gang rape article that was based on what the magazine was told by “Jackie” (a student at the University of Virginia). The saga of this story, and the travel of the lawsuit, keeps on getting more and more compelling.
In an article published by the Washington Post, it appears that facts uncovered during the course of discovery in the case are revealing that Jackie’s story was motivated in part by her attempt to “catfish” a spurned romantic interest. The article also seems to reveal that a rudimentary fact checking of Jackie’s story by Rolling Stone would have revealed that there were glaring problems with what she was telling their reporter.
The other recent event related to this lawsuit is the decision by the National Organization for Women to interject itself into this case. What NOW has done is send an open letter to the President of the University of Virginia imploring her to “quell” to private right of action that has been taken by Dean Eramo because it is re-victimizing Jackie. In truth, this letter seems to be a bit naive in it assertions. The letter asks the President to take all steps necessary to stop the discovery actions of Dean Eramo’s counsel (even though this is a private lawsuit filed by the Dean, the University of Virginia is not a party to the action, and the actions by Dean Eramo’s counsel are a reasonable exercise of due diligence in moving this case forward) but does not offer any concrete advice regarding what UVA should do. More information about this letter is found in this article in the Roanoke Times.
As I have mentioned in the past, this is a case that clearly calls for a settlement by Rolling Stone. It appears that they are extremely vulnerable on the question of liability, and the real question is an assessment of a reasonable value for damages.
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