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Karen Dunn Co-Authors Op-Ed in The Washington Post

December 28, 2021

Litigation partner Karen Dunn co-wrote an op-ed with Kaplan Hecker & Fink founding partner Roberta Kaplan, published in The Washington Post. In “White supremacists are using an old playbook but so are the lawyers fighting them,” the authors discuss the recent renaissance of lawsuits brought under Section 1985 of the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, which regulates private conduct when private individuals or organizations, such as the KKK, engage in a conspiracy to interfere with the government, obstruct justice or deprive people of their civil rights. They note the many lessons learned throughout four years of litigation in Sines v. Kessler, in which the plaintiffs secured a $26 million verdict against the white supremacist organizers of the violent “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, which may benefit the D.C. attorney general in his new Section 1985 lawsuit against the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers over their participation in the violent January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

“We also learned the mixed emotions that come with litigating such cases — not just for the litigants and the attorneys but for all of us,” the authors add. “While the law enables private parties to meet the moment by combating violent hate with legal tools that protect and defend civil rights, we are mindful of the extreme circumstances that have made this statute relevant over the course of our country’s history and profoundly saddened by its enduring relevance. We should not need lawsuits to remind us that violent bigotry and hate have no place in the United States. As a country, we can and must do better.”

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