Unanimous Verdict Vindicates Sexual Assault Victim Sued by Assailant for Defamation


A six year ordeal has come to an end for Yee Xiong, a rape victim assaulted by Lang Her, when both were attending the University of California, Davis. On Friday, a Yolo County jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Ms. Xiong in her civil suit against Mr. Her for sexually assaulting Ms. Xiong after a party at his apartment in Davis in July 2012. The jury deliberated for less than three hours on Friday before returning the unanimous (12-0) verdict and awarded Ms. Xiong the full amount of damages sought – $152,400 for medical expenses and compensation for pain and suffering. The result was featured in the American Lawyer's Litigation Daily.

The case gained national attention in 2016 after Mr. Her served Ms. Xiong with a $4 million defamation lawsuit on the same day that he was sentenced as part of a plea agreement he reached with the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office. Mr. Her had pleaded “no contest” to one felony count of assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury after two criminal trials against him ended in hung juries.

After Mr. Her served Ms. Xiong with a defamation suit, Orrick volunteered to represent Ms. Xiong pro bono. In October 2016, Orrick obtained a judgment from the Yuba County Superior Court dismissing the defamation suit and the firm continued to represent Ms. Xiong in her civil suit for sexual battery. 

Orrick associates Justin Giovannettone and Rabi David successfully tried Ms. Xiong’s case in the four-day trial in Yolo County Superior Court. The Orrick team was assisted by paralegal Jana Schneider and supervised by partner Mike Weed.

The case was originally taken on by former Orrick partner McGregor Scott, who left the firm in December 2017 after accepting re-appointment as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.