A civil case filed earlier this year against Joe Lonsdale, founder of Palo Alto software company Palantir, by a former girlfriend and Stanford University student who accused him of sexual assault and abuse, has been dismissed, as has a counterclaim Lonsdale filed in response, according to court documents filed Monday.
A joint stipulation to voluntarily dismiss both Elise Clougherty's lawsuit and Lonsdale's counterclaim was filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Nov. 2.
Clougherty's lawsuit, filed Jan. 27, alleged that during a year-long romantic relationship with Lonsdale that began in February 2012 when Clougherty was an undergraduate, Lonsdale "continuously and systemically subjected Ms. Clougherty to repeated and incessant sexual assaults and abuse, employing psychological manipulation and coercion in order to confuse, isolate, and otherwise disorient Ms. Clougherty from appreciating the true danger of her situation," the lawsuit reads.
The two had met through Stanford's High Technology Entrepreneurship program, for which Lonsdale was serving as a mentor. Lonsdale is also a Stanford alumnus.
Lonsdale quickly denied all claims. The day after Clougherty filed her lawsuit, a website emerged joelonsdalestatement.com in which Lonsdale describes Clougherty as "disturbed" and "vengeful" and indicated his intent to file a defamation lawsuit, which came the next month. Kristen Dumont, one of Lonsdale's attorneys, called Clougherty's lawsuit a "vile collection of lies and a transparent attempt to destroy the reputation and good name of Joe Lonsdale."
Stanford has also reversed the outcome of a February 2013 investigation that found Lonsdale had violated the university's Title IX policy. An outside investigator concluded at the time that Lonsdale had "engaged in conduct meeting the definitions of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct under Stanford's Title IX policy, and that it was 'more likely than not that (Ms. Clougherty) expressed to (Mr. Lonsdale) that she did not want to engage in the sexual conduct in question but that (Mr. Lonsdale) did not comply with (her) request,'" according to the lawsuit.
"As a result of new evidence that came to light during litigation between Mr. Lonsdale and Ms. Clougherty," university spokeswoman Lisa Lapin wrote in an email on Monday, "the investigator in a Stanford University Title IX matter involving both parties has determined that Mr. Lonsdale did not violate Stanford's Title IX policy."
Stanford has lifted a 10-year minimum campus ban imposed on Lonsdale as a result of the 2013 Title IX investigation, Lapin said. However, because Lonsdale and Clougherty did not disclose their relationship to Stanford per the university's Consensual Relationships policy, Lonsdale has agreed that he will not challenge a temporary mentoring and teaching suspension that the university imposed on him, Lapin said.
Clougherty, who was being represented by Hutchinson Black and Cook in Boulder, L. Lin Wood in Atlanta, and the Liu Law Firm in San Francisco, originally sought a jury trial and monetary damages of at least $75,000.
Lonsdale then sued Clougherty for $75,000 in damages and alleged that after they broke up in February 2013 she launched a "smear campaign" that caused significant "harm to his profession and occupation, expenses from responding to the statements, harm to his reputation, and shame, mortification, and hurt feelings," his counterclaim reads.
In a March 25 court document, Clougherty's attorneys described Lonsdale's counterclaims as "part of a highly orchestrated public relations campaign to silence and punish Ms. Clougherty for speaking up about sexual abuse."
In February, the New York Times Magazine published a lengthy piece on the relationship between Lonsdale and Clougherty and Stanford's handling of the allegations titled "The Stanford Undergraduate and the Mentor."
Lonsdale's legal counsel declined to comment for this story. Clougherty's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.