As the original poster, I thought folks might be interested in the outcome.
After receiving the damaged part, Van's sent out another replacement, but this time they sandwiched the skin between two sheets of plywood, and secured it so it could not slide around. It arrived in perfect condition. Kudos to Van's for making it so easy on us builders when there is a problem with shipping, and also for taking extraordinary steps to ensure the part arrives undamaged; no easy feat given how poorly our parts are handled by the freight companies. This has put me 2-3 weeks behind where I would have been, but at least I'm making progress again.
Empennage Complete Except for Tips