Virginia Jury Orders Everett Blogger To Pay Retired Army Colonel $8.4 Million In Defamation Case
August 12, 2017
(FAIRFAX, VA.) -- A Virginia jury has awarded a retired Army colonel $8.4 million in a defamation case against an Everett, Washington blogger who had accused him of raping her more than 30 years ago, while they were both cadets at West Point.
According to an article published Friday by The Washington Post Susan Shannon of Everett made the allegations against Col. David "Wil" Riggins on her blog in 2013.
Riggins, a highly decorated Army soldier claims he lost a promotion to Brigadier General and his good name after Shannon, now a stay at home mom to three teenagers, made the allegations against him on her blog.
An Army investigation into Shannon's claim couldn't "prove or disprove" her allegations, according to the Post story but the Fairfax County jury sided with Riggins - after only a few hours of deliberations - and ordered Shannon to pay $3.4 million in compensatory damages and $5 million in punitive damages.
But the actual damages under Virginia law will likely be limited to $2.3 million, according to the report which quoted Shannon as saying she was devastated by the verdict and that her attorney plans an appeal.
When Riggins sued Shannon for defamation he claimed that every aspect of her rape claim on the West Point campus was “provably false,” and that she wrote two blog posts and a Facebook post “to intentionally derail [his] promotion” to brigadier general.
The trial lasted six days and ended August 1st in Fairfax County. The jury deliberated only 2-1/2 hours before reaching a verdict in favor of Riggins.