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 John 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. Anonymity poses no prejudice to the defendants, who know both the identities of both the accuser and the accused. These factors outweigh the plaintiff’s age, which weighs against anonymity since he was in his final year of college.

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

Doe v. Va. Polytechnic Inst. & State Univ., No. 7:18cv170, Nov. 13, 2018. EDVA at Roanoke (Dillon).

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

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