FAYETTEVILLE -- A pseudonym can continue to be used in court documents filed as part of a lawsuit alleging a fraternity should be held responsible for sexually explicit images of "Jane Doe" taken and shared without her permission, attorneys said Tuesday.
The lawsuit, filed in February, alleges that the woman was a University of Arkansas, Fayetteville student when images were taken without her permission at a 2017 party at the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house on the UA campus. The lawsuit states that photos were shared through an email network for fraternity members.
A hearing held Tuesday in Washington County Circuit Court was to be about whether the woman filing the lawsuit -- identified in court documents as "Jane Doe" -- should be forced to refile the lawsuit and disclose her name in the public court filing. Her lawsuit states that her name has been known to the fraternity.
Rodney Cook, an attorney representing the fraternity, said at the hearing Tuesday that so long as "in front of a jury, the case is brought in the real name" of the woman filing the lawsuit, there could be a "way to resolve" the issue.
George Rozzell, the attorney for the woman suing the fraternity, said there was no attempt to keep his client from being named in a trial.
"From my perspective, we have always anticipated that during the trial, my client's name would come out," Rozzell said at the hearing.
Cook's statement marked a change from August, when he and other attorneys for Lambda Chi Alpha filed a 14-page legal brief arguing the person filing the lawsuit "should not be permitted to bring her claims anonymously" and that she "seeks to remain anonymous to avoid criticism, annoyance and personal embarrassment."
The brief claimed that courts "have rejected potential personal embarrassment as a basis" for using a pseudonym.
In September, Rozzell filed a brief arguing that the request for anonymity "is for the protection of information of the utmost intimacy and to preserve privacy in a sensitive and highly personal matter" and that the woman is at risk for "retaliatory harm."
Cook on Tuesday told Judge Doug Martin about the proposal, saying that "I literally just came up with this a few minutes ago."
The lawsuit names the national organization -- Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Inc. -- and the UA fraternity chapter -- Gamma Chi Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha -- as defendants. It also names two other entities: Lambda Chi Alpha Corp. of Fayetteville and Lambda Chi Properties Inc.
In court documents, attorneys for the fraternal organization denied a claim that fraternity officers were involved in the actions of an unnamed "Picture Pledge."
Details of the case match a separate criminal case. Garrett Wolff will avoid trial on a misdemeanor video voyeurism charge if he meets requirements that include 100 hours of community service.
Metro on 12/05/2018
Print Headline: Plaintiff to keep 'Jane Doe' label; suit alleges UA frat should be held responsible for sexually explicit images shared without permission