Legal expert says UVa. lawsuit against Rolling Stone unlikely

Posted at 11:18 PM, Dec 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-07 19:39:56-05

RICHMOND, VA  -- For alums and supporters of the University of Virginia,  this past semester has been tough.

Between the passing of UVa. student Hannah Graham and the alleged cases of sexual assault, the university's big win over VCU Saturday was a welcomed reprieve for fans.

"That win was exhilarating," Ashley Reedinger, a 2005 alum said.

Reedinger also noted the past few weeks have been emotional for those who love UVa., especially the last 48 hours when Rolling Stone magazine admitted their reporting on the subject of sexual assault may have been flawed.

"No one likes to read bad things about their University," Reedinger said.

"The things we've been through this semester have been really tough," Randy Gordon, an alum who has a daughter at the University as well also said.

The question looming among several UVa. alums is whether the University, the State, or even the fraternity at the center of the Rolling Stone article should sue the media publication because of the story.

"I can't imagine people will come forward and file suit in this case," Atty. Todd Stone, a legal expert with CBS 6, said.

Stone says it will be challenging because UVa. is a public institution which means lawyers would have to prove Rolling Stone was not just negligent it was also reckless.

"Was their negligence on the part of Rolling Stone? Probably so. Was their recklessness? Probably not," Stone added.

Stone also says damages UVA would have to have suffered severe damages as a result of the piece to make a valid case, something that is unlikely to stick unless enrollment or the endowment dramatically drops.

For alums like Reedinger and Gordon they just hope the University still uses this as an opportunity to be a national advocate for preventing sexual assaults on college campuses.

"We'd like to be leaders of change," Reedinger said.

"I think we really need to focus on the issue which is making sure students are in a safe environment," Gordon said.