Naomi Shatz Discusses Threat of Defamation Lawsuits Following School Sexual Assault Hearings

Naomi Shatz (’08), Partner at Zalkind, Duncan & Bernstein, was quoted in a New York Times article examining a Connecticut Supreme Court ruling allowing a defamation lawsuit to proceed against a plaintiff in a sexual assault case, after school disciplinary hearings were deemed “not quasi-judicial,” thereby precluding witness immunity from such lawsuits. The ruling has prompted schools to rethink approaches to sexual assault hearings amid changing Title IX guidance on cross-examination under recent administrations and its current review under Biden (“How a Yale Student’s Rape Accusation Exposed Her to a Defamation Lawsuit,” Sep. 17). “It’s a huge emotional and financial burden to be dragged into a defamation lawsuit,” Naomi said. Citing the defamation lawsuit brought by Johnny Depp against Amber Heard, she noted, “Nobody wants to be in Amber Heard’s position, especially as a young college student without financial resources or social capital.”