Mark MacDougall Quoted by New York Times and Others Following Verdict in Rolling Stone Defamation Suit

Akin Gump litigation partner Mark MacDougall was quoted by several news outlets after the verdict in the defamation suit brought by a former University of Virginia dean against Rolling Stone magazine. The suit followed a 2014 article about a supposed gang rape at the university that the magazine had already retracted in the face of widespread criticism, but the jury found Rolling Stone, its parent company and the author of the article were all liable for defamation.

The New York Times quoted MacDougall as saying that the verdict “marks the boundary of how far a writer and her publication can go in breaking the basic rules of journalism — before facing the consequences of false reporting.”

In The Hollywood Reporter, MacDougall continued, “When a reporter, an editor or a magazine behave like they don’t care whether what they publish is false, that’s enough to support a finding of actual malice.”

In a Reuters article, MacDougall is noted as pointing out that actual malice did not mean that the defendants had to dislike the dean or wish her harm.