Rolling Stone defamation case ends 'amicable resolution'

  • 13/04/2017
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia (Reuters)
The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house at the University of Virginia (Reuters)

Rolling Stone magazine and the administrator at the University of Virginia have reached an agreement that ends a defamation case over the publication's retracted story about an alleged gang rape at the school.

Rolling Stone has been appealing against a US$3 million defamation verdict a Virginia federal court jury awarded in November to university administrator Nicole Eramo after it found the magazine and reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely had defamed her.

"We are delighted that this dispute is now behind us as it allows Nicole to move on and focus on doing what she does best, which is supporting victims of sexual assault," Libby Locke, one of her lawyers, said in a statement provided to the New York Times.

Court documents showed Eramo dropped the case on Tuesday, five months after the jury found the magazine and author were guilty of actual malice, a key element in libel law, in six statements in the November 2014 story 'A Rape on Campus'.

The article played a key role in sparking a national debate about sexual assault on university campuses.

The magazine has argued in court papers there was no evidence Ms Erdely acted with actual malice in the story and the jury erred in finding that the story had been republished.

The magazine's story said a female student identified only as "Jackie" was gang-raped at a university fraternity.

Rolling Stone retracted the story and a police investigation found no evidence to support Jackie's claims.

Ms Eramo accused the magazine of portraying her as the story's villain and as being focused on hushing up sexual assault reports.

"Rolling Stone, Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Nicole Eramo have come to an amicable resolution. The terms are confidential," a spokeswoman for Wenner Media, the parent company of Rolling Stone, told the Times.