Doe v. Va. Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ.

In a campus-sexual-assault case, the accused plaintiff can bring his due-process claims against the University under the pseudonym James Doe. His privacy interest outweighs the presumption of openness in judicial proceedings.

Sexual-assault allegations are a highly personal and sensitive matter, and private, intimate details of the plaintiff’s life are likely to be at issue. Identifying the plaintiff may also put him at risk for physical or mental harm, as well as his accuser. Being only in his second year of college, the plaintiff’s age weighs in favor of anonymity as well. Finally, anonymity poses no prejudice to the defendants, who know both the identities of both the accuser and the accused.

Defendants’ motion to dismiss denied. The parties are directed to use the pseudonyms James Doe and Jan Roe in all further filings.

Doe v. Va. Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ., No. 7:18cv320, Nov. 13, 2018. WDVA at Roanoke (Dillon).



Categories: Opinions, U.S. District Court - Western District of Virginia

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