NY Federal Judge Dismisses Defamation Claims Against Rolling Stone

Judge P. Kevin Castel today granted a motion to dismiss by attorneys for Rolling Stone. The plaintiffs in the case, George Elias IV, Stephen Hadford, and Ross Fowler, (c/o 2013) members of the University of Virginia chapter of Phi Kappa Psi brought their suit against Rolling Stone for defamation, stating that the now discredited story titled “A Rape on Campus” led others to believe that they were involved in the false rape on Jackie Coakley described in the story.

Judge Castel dismissed the suit after concluding that the story did not contain sufficient facts to infer that any of them had participated or assisted in any rape. Castel also noted that an interview given by the author of the story, Sabrina Erdely, to Slate magazine which the plaintiffs claim gave the false impression that gang rape was part of Phi Kappa Psi’s initiation, was an expression of Erdely’s opinion and protected under New York state law.


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