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“Jackie” Of Rolling Stone Article Deposed In Multi-million Dollar Defamation Lawsuit

A former student known only as “Jackie’ in a 2014 Rolling Stone article about an alleged sexual assault on the campus of the University of Virginia recently sat through a deposition after the federal judge hearing the case ruled the alleged victim at the center of a multi-million dollar defamation suit must testify. Lawyers for “Jackie” objected to the order, insisting her testifying would put her through too much trauma as parties on both sides battle over the facts of the case.

The widely publicized story began in November 2014 when a Rolling Stone article entitled “A Rape on Campus” alleged members of a university fraternity took part in a brutal sexual assault of the victim, “Jackie.” That story has since come under a hail of criticism as reports the publication failed to properly vet the story surfaced when other outlets began investigating the story.

UVA dean, fraternity file separate suits

Rolling Stone magazine faces a pair of defamation lawsuits over the article. One was filed by an associate dean of UVA alleging the publication was determined to paint her as a callus antagonist unwilling to believe the story of an alleged sexual assault survivor.

The UVA administrator’s suit seeks $7.5 million in damages and an additional $350,000 in punitives as compensation against the magazine for allegedly portraying her in a false light. Her suit alleges that not only did “Jackie” lie about interactions with her but Rolling Stone was aware and published her account anyways.

The second defamation lawsuit was brought by the fraternity whose members allegedly conducted the assault on “Jackie.” The fraternity’s suit seeks a massive $25 million judgement against Rolling Stone magazine for its part in the matter, making many of the same claims purported by the UVA associate dean in her suit.

Virginia defamation of character, libel, and slander laws

Under Virginia law, libel and slander fall under the tort of defamation. Defamation is considered false statements or publications which cause injuries to a person or entity. Victims of defamation may bring civil action against those believed to have intentionally perpetrated such lies to the detriment of the victim’s character.

Defamation lawsuits are extremely complex as they often intersect with our state and federal constitutional rights to freedom of speech. Furthermore, there are many defenses to defamation suits and defendants will often assert them to shield themselves from liability.

When considering filing a defamation lawsuit against a person or entity, plaintiffs should strongly consider retaining defamation lawsuit attorneys with experience handling the complexities of such litigation. Virginia’s defamation laws have various nuances such as defamatory per se, per quod, and defamation by implication and lawsuits must allege the correct claim to be successful.

Leesburg Defamation Lawsuit Attorneys

If you believe your personal reputation or that of your business was tarnished by intentionally false statements of a malicious party, contact Whitbeck Cisneros McElroy PC for a consultation about your case. Our dedicated Leesburg defamation lawsuit attorneys represent clients throughout Leesburg, Fairfax, and Prince William Counties and have the experience and legal training to help you seek justice.

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