The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reinstated the defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone by the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. The decision by Judge Katherine Forrest is an interesting application of the rarely successful “group defamation” claim. The decision comes as the Rolling Stone magazine itself has been put up for sale. As I have previously written, the editors failed on almost every level in the scandal, including failing to fire author Sabrina Erdely for the article alleging the gang rape of a freshman identified as “Jackie” at the University of Virginia. The panel in Elias v. Rolling Stone, 16-2465-cv, consisted of U.S. Circuit Judges José Alberto Cabranes and Raymond Lohier Jr., with U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York sitting by designation. The vote was 2-1.
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