UVA dean scores a major point in her fight against Rolling Stone

University of Virginia associate dean of students Nicole Eramo may have just caught a big break in her ongoing defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine.

In Rolling Stone’s now-retracted article “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” Eramo is depicted as indifferent to UVA student Jackie’s alleged gang rape at a campus fraternity party. The article claims Eramo did nothing in response to Jackie’s allegations and told the student that UVA did not publish its sexual assault data “because nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school.”

This week, according to The Daily Progress, US District Judge Glen Conrad ruled that Jackie has to turn over to the court any communication with Eramo, Rolling Stone, or “A Rape on Campus” author Sabrina Rubin Erdely, who is also a defendant in the lawsuit.

Much — if not all — of Jackie’s story has since been disproved by media reports, a police investigation, and a report by Columbia Journalism School that Rolling Stone published in April 2015.

As Reason points out, Eramo not only needs to prove that Jackie lied about the dean’s actions and statements, but that Erdely and Rolling Stone were aware the student was likely not telling the truth and published its article anyway.

“Jackie was the primary source for Rolling Stone’s false and defamatory article,” Eramo’s attorney told The Daily Progress. “It appears that Jackie fabricated the account of the sexual assault portrayed in Rolling Stone and that Rolling Stone knew she was an unreliable source. We look forward to moving forward with discovery and taking this case to trial.”

Eramo is seeking nearly $8 million in damages — $7.5 million in compensatory damages for reputational harm and $350,000 for punitive damages.

We reached out to Rolling Stone and will update this post with any comment we receive.

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