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Case Name Sines v. Kessler PA-VA-0003
Docket / Court 3:17-cv-00072-NKM-JCH ( W.D. Va. )
State/Territory Virginia
Case Type(s) Public Accomm./Contracting
Case Summary
In this case, ten private citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia, sued a host of individuals identified as organizers and promoters of the far-right “Unite the Right” rally held in the city on August 11-12, 2017. The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on October 11, 2017, in the U.S. District Court ... read more >
In this case, ten private citizens of Charlottesville, Virginia, sued a host of individuals identified as organizers and promoters of the far-right “Unite the Right” rally held in the city on August 11-12, 2017. The plaintiffs filed this lawsuit on October 11, 2017, in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiffs invoked state law and 42 U.S.C. § 1985, a Reconstruction Era federal statute creating a cause of action against those who conspire to deprive another citizen of their civil rights, and alleged that the defendant organizers were responsible for the damage their rally caused. This rally, widely covered in the media, precipitated violent and emotionally distressing events such as antisemitic chanting in the streets and at least one death. Plaintiffs sought a declaratory judgment that the defendants' actions deprived them of their equal rights; injunctive relief enjoining defendants from future violations; and compensatory, statutory, and punitive damages. This case was assigned to Judge Norman K. Moon and referred to Magistrate Judge Joel C. Hoppe.

The four years this case has spent in pre-trial have been eventful. After failing to respond, five defendants had default judgments placed against them in early 2018. On July 9, 2018, the court largely denied a motion to dismiss the charges, finding that the plaintiffs adequately alleged that the defendants had formed a conspiracy to hurt Black and Jewish people. Though Judge Moon dismissed one defendant – later added back after the complaint was amended – and pared down several of the claims, "the Plaintiffs’ claims largely survive[d]." 324 F. Supp. 3d 765.

Following this failed attempt to dissolve the case, many of the defendants proved to be uncooperative. In April 2019, defendant Jeff Schoep was sanctioned for failing to turn over evidence. In August 2019, the court granted two motions for sanctions against defendants Elliot Kline, Matthew Heimbach, and Vanguard America and awarded the plaintiffs reasonable attorney’s fees, which were determined in May 2020, to be $41,300. On December 23, 2019, the court found defendant Elliott Kline in civil contempt, and in January 2020, he was briefly held in jail for failure to comply with discovery orders. The court similarly found Robert Ray in civil contempt on September 16, 2020. As a result of this discovery abuse, the court granted adverse evidentiary inferences against three of the defendants.

A group of defendants under the League of the South umbrella and defendant Richard Spencer separately filed for summary judgment. The former motion was denied on March 31, 2021, because the court found there to be material conflicts in the evidence. The latter was struck on May 19, 2021, as untimely.

After delays due to COVID-19 and the impeded discovery process, a trial date has been set for October 25 through November 19, 2021.

Sean Drohan - 06/29/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Freedom of speech/association
Slavery/Involuntary servitude
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
Religion discrimination
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1985
State law
Defendant(s) Andrew Anglin
Augustus Sol Invictus
Christopher Cantwell
East Coast Knights of the Klu Klux Klan a/k/a/ East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire
Elliott Kline a/k/a/ Eli Mosley
Fraternal Order of the Alt-Knights
Identity Evropa
James Alex Fields Jr.
Jason Kessler
Jeff Schoep
League of the South
Loyal White Knights of the Klu Klux Klan
Matthew Heimbach
Matthew Parrott a/k/a/ David Matthew Parrott
Michael "Enoch" Peinovich
Michael Hill
Michael Tubbs
Moonbase Holdings, LLC
Nathan Damigo
National Socialist Movement
Nationalist Front
Richard Spencer
Robert "Azzmador" Ray
Traditionalist Worker Party
Vanguard America
Plaintiff Description Ten private individuals who claim damages as a result of the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11-12, 2017.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 10/11/2017
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
W.D. Va.
05/27/2021
3:17-cv-00072-NKM-JCH
PA-VA-0003-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
W.D. Va.
10/11/2017
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PA-VA-0003-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
01/05/2018
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 175]
PA-VA-0003-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
04/20/2018
Memorandum Opinion & Order [ECF# 304] (2018 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 133124)
PA-VA-0003-0016.pdf | LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
07/09/2018
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 335] (324 F.Supp.3d 765)
PA-VA-0003-0003.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
02/19/2019
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 415] (2019 WL 691788)
PA-VA-0003-0007.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
08/09/2019
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 539] (2019 WL 3767475)
PA-VA-0003-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
09/17/2019
Second Amended Complaint [ECF# 557]
PA-VA-0003-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
05/26/2020
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 738] (2020 WL 2736434)
PA-VA-0003-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
05/27/2020
Memorandum Opinion & Order [ECF# 741]
PA-VA-0003-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
05/28/2020
Memorandum Opinion & Order [ECF# 742] (2020 WL 7214201)
PA-VA-0003-0009.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
05/29/2020
Memorandum Opinion & Order [ECF# 747] (2020 WL 2827347)
PA-VA-0003-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
06/11/2020
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 759] (2020 WL 3106318)
PA-VA-0003-0011.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
11/30/2020
Memorandum Opinion & Order [ECF# 910] (2020 WL 7028710)
PA-VA-0003-0012.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
03/25/2021
Memorandum Opinion & Order [ECF# 933] (2021 WL 1143291)
PA-VA-0003-0013.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
03/30/2021
Memorandum Opinion & Order [ECF# 936] (2021 WL 1208924)
PA-VA-0003-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
W.D. Va.
04/15/2021
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 941] (2021 WL 1431296)
PA-VA-0003-0015.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Hoppe, Joel C. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
PA-VA-0003-0005 | PA-VA-0003-0006 | PA-VA-0003-0008 | PA-VA-0003-0009 | PA-VA-0003-0010 | PA-VA-0003-0011 | PA-VA-0003-0012 | PA-VA-0003-0013 | PA-VA-0003-0014 | PA-VA-0003-0016
Moon, Norman K. (W.D. Va.) show/hide docs
PA-VA-0003-0003 | PA-VA-0003-0007 | PA-VA-0003-0015
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ashwell, Erin B (Virginia) show/hide docs
PA-VA-0003-0004 | PA-VA-0003-9000
Barkai, Yotam (New York) show/hide docs
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Bloch, Michael Low (New York) show/hide docs
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Bowman, Philip Matthew (New York) show/hide docs
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Brodnax, Pleasant S. III (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Bynum, Kenneth D. (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Cahill, Robert T. (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Cheng, Katherine Marie (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Cole, Emily Carrie (New York) show/hide docs
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Conlon, Alexandria Kendal (New York) show/hide docs
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Dunn, Karen Leah (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Eber, Alexandra (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Fink, Julie Eden (New York) show/hide docs
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Greene, Christopher Bradford (New York) show/hide docs
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Isaacson, William Anthony (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Kaplan, Roberta Ann (New York) show/hide docs
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Kay, Jonathan R (New York) show/hide docs
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Levine, Alan (New York) show/hide docs
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Libling, Joshua James (New York) show/hide docs
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Liverzani, Amanda Lee (New York) show/hide docs
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Matz, Joshua Adam (New York) show/hide docs
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Mills, David Edward (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Munley, Caitlin B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Phillips, Jessica E. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Rottenborn, John Benjamin (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Roy, Daniel Philip III (New York) show/hide docs
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Siegel, Joshua Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Stemetzki, Scott William (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Strauss, Samantha A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Strohmeier, Seguin Layton (New York) show/hide docs
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Tenzer, Gabrielle E. (New York) show/hide docs
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Tolentino, Raymond Patrick (New York) show/hide docs
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White, Benjamin Daniel (New York) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Campbell, David Leon (Virginia) show/hide docs
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DiNucci, John A. (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Gravatt, Justin Saunders (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Jones, Bryan Jeffrey (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Kolenich, James Edward (Ohio) show/hide docs
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Lorish, Lisa M. (Virginia) show/hide docs
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ReBrook, William Edward IV (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Woodard, Elmer (Virginia) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Hill, John Irving (Virginia) show/hide docs
PA-VA-0003-9000
Lunsford, Denise Yvette (Virginia) show/hide docs
PA-VA-0003-9000

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