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What Happened in Charlottesville

Thursday, January 12, 2023 19 Tevet 5783

8:00 PM - 9:00 PMZoom:

Join attorney Roberta (“Robbie”) Kaplan, the founding partner of Kaplan Hecker & Fink LLP, for a discussion of the landmark Charlottesville lawsuit, Sines v. Kessler.

Five years ago, in August 2017, a group of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups descended on Charlottesville, Virginia, for a weekend of racially and religiously motivated violence under the banner of “Unite the Right.” This violence, including the death of Heather Heyer and extensive injuries, was no accident. Rather, it was the result of months of planning. And it served as a harbinger of the cycle of white supremacist violence that has followed.

Only a few months later, in one of their first cases as a law firm, Kaplan Hecker sued the organizers of the violence that took place in Charlottesville that summer on behalf of a group of individuals who had been injured at the rally. The lawsuit took what has been described as an “audacious” legal approach, utilizing, among other legal strategies, an 1871 law, the Ku Klux Klan Act, that was originally intended to stop the mob-based violence of the KKK. In November 2021, Kaplan Hecker and their co-counsel obtained a historic victory at trial and a $26 million award to the plaintiffs, ensuring that the organizers of Unite the Right would be held accountable for their actions. Robbie and her legal team’s victory at trial uniquely have held the neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and hate groups at the center of this violent movement accountable in federal court for the violence they brought to Charlottesville in 2017.

Going forward, the Charlottesville case provides an example of a method to take effective action against those responsible for the white supremacy and extremism poisoning this country. Taking on, and taking down, these violent extremists is all the more critical as we see them continue to try to spread disinformation, hate, fear, and violence.

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Thu, December 8 2022 14 Kislev 5783