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Jessica Phillips Discusses HBO Documentary on Charlottesville Trial With Law360
October 13, 2023
Paul, Weiss litigation partners Jessica Phillips and Karen Dunn, as well as co-counsel, were interviewed by Law360 about their pretrial and trial achievements in Sines v. Kessler, the subject of a new HBO documentary, No Accident. The documentary delves into the behind-the-scenes legal battle against the white nationalist organizers of the 2017 Charlottesville “Unite the Right” rally, where one counter-protester, Heather Heyer, was killed and more than 30 others were injured.
Jessica was “absolutely critical to our victory,” notes Bloch & White’s Michael Bloch, a co-counsel to the plaintiffs, calling her a key force in the case. Bloch tells Law360 that Jessica collected and presented key evidence that led to the court levying penalties against defendant Elliott Kline for destroying evidence. Kline formerly led Identity Evropa, a now-disbanded American new-Nazi organization, and was a key organizer of the August 2017 rally.
“Kline was held in contempt for destroying evidence, and ultimately, because of Jessica's advocacy, the court awarded us plaintiffs an adverse inference—actually, multiple adverse inferences—related to multiple defendants,” Bloch says.
“Representing our nine plaintiffs has been the most important matter that I’ve worked on in my career and I will forever be in awe of and grateful to them for their bravery,” Jessica notes.
“One of our hopes is that people will see this movie and understand that civil litigation is a powerful tool to hold these violent extremist groups accountable, “ Karen says.