Rolling Stone Challenges Verdict in Eramo Defamation Case

Posted: Updated:

Rolling Stone magazine is asking a federal judge to overturn a jury's verdict in the defamation case over its retracted 2014 article about a gang rape at the University of Virginia.

Jurors found in November that the magazine, its publisher Wenner Media, and author Sabrina Rubin Erdely defamed UVA administrator Nicole Eramo's with its botched story "A Rape on Campus."

The plaintiff claimed Erdely's article unfairly portrayed Eramo as a villain, indifferent to UVA student "Jackie's" allegation that she was gang raped at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in September 2012.

Eramo was initially seeking $7.5 million in damages, but the jury chose to instead award her $3 million.

Attorneys for the magazine maintain in a motion filed Monday, December 5, that the judge should overrule the jury's verdict, saying there's no evidence that Erdely acted with malice.

"The post-trial motions serve two purposes. One is to say, ‘judge, I just thought of something else I hadn't told you before.’ The second purpose is to basically set the stage for the appeal," explained legal analyst Lloyd Snook.

The magazine is also challenging the jury's finding that it "republished" the article in December 2014 when it added an editor's note to the online version acknowledging there were problems with the article.

Defense lawyers argue no reasonable jury could have found Rolling Stone "affirmatively reiterated" the article statements with the editor's note, nor that the magazine was seeking to reach a new audience. Lawyers also claim Eramo didn't present evidence that she was harmed by post-publication statements during the trial.

Eramo's attorney, Libby Locke, issued the following statement:

Rolling Stone baldly told the jury that they heard and respected the verdict in this case. But that was obviously a lie. The very first thing that Rolling Stone filed after saying those words is a request to set the verdict aside. This is more evidence that Rolling Stone still doesn't get it.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

  • Rolling Stone Challenges Verdict in Eramo Defamation CaseMore>>

  • Sign Up for Email Alerts

    Sign up to receive news, weather, and breaking news emails from the NBC29 newsroom in your inbox daily.

    * denotes required fields

    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.