Can Civil Law Stop Hate Crimes?

A Kentucky jury recently awarded $2.5 million to the victim of a hate crime beating. The victim, mistakenly believe to be an immigrant was beaten by the Ku Klux Klan. The attack left the boy, now 19, with constant nightmares and nerve damage. Although the attackers also went through the criminal system, the civil trial created a unique opportunity that was the focus of the plaintiff lawyer’s goal. To obtain a high enough verdict to bankrupt the organization.

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It is amazing that an organization so wrapped in violence and hatred can be brought down by the civil legal system. It is similar to Al Capone being apprehended not in the course of a heinous robbery or crime, but rather for not paying taxes on time.

The ability to connect the organizations and assets to the conduct of its numbers is similar to recognize liability principles that will hold an employer responsible for the negligent conduct of an employee. By personal injury lawyers, this is known as “respondeat superior.”

Applying this unique employer/employee theory of liability against organized crime opens the door to other applications. In the right circumstances there may be possible cases against gang violence or other hate crimes.