This case stemmed from a situation that began when a husband and wife cursed out their neighbor, using patently racist language.
This behavior evolved into regular verbal harassment, which was often explicitly racial in nature. Additionally, the wife filed two criminal complaints and a protective order against the neighbor, all of which failed in court. One of the criminal complaints was nolle pros’ed by the prosecutor, the court found the neighbor not guilty of the second criminal charge and the protective order was denied. The neighbor subsequently filed a civil suit against the husband and wife.
Plaintiff sued the defendants on two counts: racial harassment under Virginia Code § 8.01-42.1 and malicious prosecution. After a four-day trial in Loudoun County Circuit Court, the jury found in favor of the plaintiff, awarding $98,688 in compensatory and punitive damages. In a post-trial motions hearing on June 7, the court set aside the malicious prosecution verdict against the husband and reduced the verdict amount by $10,000. During that same hearing, the court awarded attorney’s fees to the plaintiff.
This appears to be the first racial harassment case under Virginia Code § 8.01-42.1 that has gone to trial in a Virginia state court. (A case involving race discrimination charges under this statute came before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1992.)[13-T-114]
Type of action: Malicious prosecution, race-based harassment
Name of case: Young v. Hoffmann
Court: Loudoun County Circuit Court
Case no.: 72949
Tried before: Jury
Judge: Thomas B. Horne
Date: April 22, 2013
Verdict or settlement: Verdict
Amount: $98,688 (reduced to $86,018 after post-trial motions)
Attorney for plaintiff: Timothy P. Bosson, Leesburg
Attorney for defendants: John R. Powell, McLean