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CU Criminal Protestors Skate; But Class Actions Can Deter

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Let's Use Class Action Lawsuits to Bankrupt University Protestors

WASHINGTON - eTradeWire -- Nearly all of the protesters who were accused of various criminal charges for occupying Columbia's University [CU] Hamilton Hall during anti-Israel protests had their cases dismissed Thursday, thereby providing virtually no deterrence for similar criminal activities in New York City or on other college campuses elsewhere in the future.

This demonstrates once again that the criminal justice system may do little in many major cities to discourage students from committing crimes in order to advance a cause if there is to be no punishment, argues public interest law professor John Banzhaf.

Illegal protests on university campuses have already triggered a number of legal actions, but so far the legal actions likely to be most successful, and most important at strongly discouraging similar criminal activity in the future - class actions brought by as few as one student or faculty member - seem to be overlooked, says class action expert John Banzhaf.

Professor Banzhaf - who has been called a "King of Class Action Law Suits," "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars," and "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry," points out than even one individual student or faculty member harmed by illegal actions by protestors can bring a class action lawsuit against each and every one of the criminal protestors who can be identified (e.g. by cell phone or video camera recordings, arrest records, etc.).

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In addition to the serious financial and other burdens of having to hire lawyers to defend against such suits, and the impact on their future credit ratings, each protestor could be found legally liable for the entire amount of all the damages to all of the thousands of class action plaintiffs under the well-established legal doctrine of joint and several liability, says the law professor, who promoted such lawsuits against the January 6th rioters.
Class action lawsuits against Capitol rioters could deter future attacks (https://www.wusa9.com/article/features/producers-picks/law-professor-proposes-class-action-lawsuit-against-capitol-rioters/65-a745416e-4f89-4bc4-8953-15b6b3d7a3d4)

Such class action lawsuits could be brought for familiar torts (civil damage actions) such as assault and battery, false imprisonment, and tortious interference with existing contractual advantage, as well as less familiar ones such civil conspiracy and prime facie tort, says Banzhaf, who has already inspired such public interest lawsuits.

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Banzhaf notes that his prior articles and other legal analysis inspired civil lawsuits against "cause" lawbreakers, and that similar suits have sometimes led to very large damage awards which shocked the criminal protestors.  SEE:
Could Occupy Wall Street protesters be sued for Black Friday tactic? (https://www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/amphtml/USA/2011/1123/Could-Occupy-Wall-Street-protesters-be-sued-for-Black-Friday-tactic)
Leaders Of Illegal Demonstrations Can Now Be Sued For Damages (https://www.valuewalk.com/leaders-illegal-demon...)
Portland Protest Leaders Face Massive Civil Lawsuits (https://www.valuewalk.com/portland-civil-lawsuits/)

http://banzhaf.net/  jbanzhaf3ATgmail.com  @profbanzhaf

GW Law

Source: Public Interest Law Professor John Banzhaf
Filed Under: Education

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