The 10 member jury concluded that the Rolling Stone reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, was responsible for defamation, with actual malice, in the case brought by Nicole Eramo, a U-Va. administrator who oversaw sexual violence cases at the time of the article’s publication. The jury also found the magazine and its publisher responsible for defaming Eramo.
washingtonpost.com By T. Rees Shapiro
Court Rulings & Settlements
“Petitioner has established that he was substantially prejudiced by the Board’s failure to preserve his written cross-examination questions. This failure rendered it difficult, if not impossible, for the University Appeals Board and now the court to determine whether Petitioner was provided with due process and a fair hearing. The court finds that the Board erred as a matter of law by not following prescribed rules for maintaining Petitioner’s cross examination questions…It is hereby ordered the University sanction of expulsion is reversed, and a new hearing on the allegation be held with a new panel.” Whitman County Superior Court Judge
Nearly three years after a jury acquitted University of Montana quarterback Jordan Johnson of rape, he’s extracted a $245,000 settlement from the school for its “misconduct” in investigating the rape allegations. Johnson claimed the school violated his due process and civil rights, discriminated against him by sex, showed negligence and destroyed evidence.
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
An upcoming ABC News segment is impacting evidence at a defamation trial against the publication set to begin on Monday.
hollywoodreporter.com Eriq Gardner
The lawsuit has been of enormous value in producing documents that exposed both the closed-minded incompetence of Rolling Stone and the poisonous, guilt-presuming campus atmosphere at UVA.
mindingthecampus.org By KC Johnson
A federal judge in Rhode Island ruled against Brown, finding that it violated Doe’s “reasonable expectations” -breach of contract- by judging him under a sexual-consent standard that was not in place when Doe was accused of rape. Judge Smith had harsh words for how Brown trained its adjudicators, and he ridiculed student activists who flooded his court with emotional appeals…”These tactics have no place in the judicial process. This is basic civics, and one would think students and others affiliated with a prestigious Ivy League institution would know this. Moreover, having read a few of the emails, it is abundantly clear that the writers, while passionate, were woefully ignorant about the issues before the Court. Hopefully, they will read this decision and be educated.”
thecollegefix.com By Greg Piper
PRESS RELEASE 9/13/2016: John Doe who sued Brandeis University in 2015, voluntarily dismisses his lawsuit
Patricia M. Hamill, a partner with the Philadelphia law firm Conrad O’Brien PC, announced today that her client, a former Brandeis University student who sued Brandeis in 2015 under the pseudonym John Doe, has decided to voluntarily dismiss his lawsuit in a Stipulated Dismissal joined by Brandeis. Hamill, who spoke on behalf of her client in order to preserve his privacy and anonymity, explained that John Doe felt vindicated by the decision rendered by Judge F. Dennis Saylor, denying Brandeis’s motion to dismiss the case and stating John Doe plausibly alleged “that Brandeis denied [him] the ‘basic fairness’ to which he was entitled.”Judge Saylor’s decision reflected concern with the alleged unfairness of Brandeis’ process:“Brandeis appears to have substantially impaired, if not eliminated, an accused student’s right to a fair and impartial process.”Doe v. Brandeis University, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43449 *15 (D. Mass. Mar. 31, 2016).Moreover, Judge Saylor noted that the complaint raised questions as to the substantive findings against Doe: “Because the procedures employed by Brandeis did not afford the accused ‘basic fairness,’ the substantive result reached as a result of that process is open to serious doubt. However, the complaint also raises serious concerns as to the substantive result, even if one assumes that the process was otherwise procedurally fair.” Doe v. Brandeis University. 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 43499 *107 (D. Mass. Mar. 31, 2016). Hamill also cited John Doe’s concern with the expense of continuing the litigation and personal reasons, including his desire to get on with his professional and private life, as reasons for the voluntary withdrawal.Unaffected by the voluntary withdrawal of the lawsuit is John Doe’s Title IX complaint filed against Brandeis with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the federal agency that regulates and enforces compliance with Title IX. (Title IX is the federal law that prohibits educational institutions that receive federal funds from discriminating against their students on the basis of sex.) The OCR has accepted John Doe’s Title IX complaint and the agency’s investigation of Brandeis is ongoing.The OCR Title IX complaint is wholly separate and apart from the federal court complaint and is not affected by John Doe’s withdrawal of the federal court lawsuit.John Doe’s federal lawsuit, which garnered significant media attention, was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts and alleged claims for breach of contract, negligence, defamation, and intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. John Doe v. Brandeis University, Civil Action No. 15-11557-FDS. The lawsuit arose out of Brandeis’s handling of a two-sentence charge made by John Doe’s ex-boyfriend to Brandeis accusing John Doe of inappropriate, nonconsensual sexual interactions with him during their nearly two-year exclusive, dating relationship.
The lawsuit alleged that Brandeis’s handling of those allegations breached Brandeis’s own written policies and procedures, and that Brandeis’s then-new “Special Examiner Process” used to investigate and adjudicate sexual misconduct allegations was a deeply flawed and fundamentally unfair process.The lawsuit challenged the Special Examiner’s findings, alleging the evidence did not support the findings and, further,wrongly elevated commonplace, everyday interactions in a nearly two-year romantic relationship into serious sexual transgressions.
A Title IX hearing officer cleared Antonio Callaway of three university code of conduct charges related to a sexual assault investigation. The complainant’s statements said she did not consent to sexual intercourse “because of intoxication and/or force.” But evidence showed she was not “intoxicated to the extent she could not consent” and that she admitted in text messages that she was pretending to be drunk…Callaway said the woman was “the aggressor” in the situation.
tampabay.com By Matt Baker
GOOD NEWS: A Catholic college in Boston is standing by its investigation into rape allegations that found the evidence was overwhelmingly in favor of the purported rapist…Accuser Vandyke freely admits she went to the unnamed male’s room that night – they met on Tinder – but says she was already very drunk and unable to consent. They smoked a bong together and had sex. The accuser “was motioning at his genitals and grabbing them,” thus obviating the need to have a conversation about consent.
Lawsuits against colleges that ignore due process are garnering more media attention. “In April, 2015, Columbia University’s motion to dismiss one such lawsuit was granted by a federal district court in New York, which seemed to spell doom for these kinds of claims. But, last week, a unanimous Second Circuit appeals panel reversed that decision and held that the accused student could go forward with his claim that the university subjected him to sex discrimination in violation of Title IX. The case will go back to the lower court for trial proceedings, unless Columbia settles with the student, who is seeking damages and wants his disciplinary record scrubbed.
newyorker.com By Jeannie Suk Gersen