Following up on its sweeping decision in favor of defamed UVA administrator Nicole Eramo, the jury in this defamation case has awarded her $3 million in damages from Rolling Stone magazine and the story’s author, Sabrina Rubin Erdely.
Via CNN Money:
Eramo’s lawyer Libby Locke said the ruling was a “public repudiation of Rolling Stone. Shame on them. Shame on them.”
The jury said Erdely must pay $2 million and Rolling Stone $1 million. However, Rolling Stone is covering the cost of Erdely’s damages, as well as her legal fees.
This ruling was about half of what Erdely’s lawyers originally sought, but it’s still a hell of a lot of money. In legalese, this is like “splitting the baby,” or like when you try to sell that homemade keg refrigerator on Craigslist for $3000 when you’d probably let it go for a case of Coors.
I think it was right to make Erdley, the reporter who “broke” the story and my faith in journalism, pay the lion’s share of the sum. I can’t believe Rolling Stone agreed to cover her entire legal fees and damages, though. Meanwhile my employer barely tosses in a 2% 401k match. Then again I didn’t go to an Ivy League journalism school, so whatever.
While I would gladly get slandered and go through a lengthy legal battle for $3 million, it’s important to remember that the money is there to cover the “irreparable harm” done to Eramo and the pain and suffering she went through. The administrator testified in court that she was hit with the bullshit accusations while preparing for cancer surgery, and contemplated suicide throughout the process, which is pretty damn dark.
As bad as Eramo got it, this trial is just the opening prelude of the righteous thunderfuck Rolling Stone faces next year when UVA Phi Psi’s lawyers finally get their hands on the magazine in court with a pending $25 million suit. Eramo’s verdict should pave the way for a generous settlement, and if I were Rolling Stone, settle I would. If I were Phi Psi, I would not accept. Debts need to be paid, shame needs to be dealt.
Let the reckoning begin.
[Via CNN Money]