In September 2015, activist Efrain Galicia was roughed up badly as he protested outside of Trump Tower. Galicia sued the Trump Organization and Trump personally, saying that Trump implicitly or expressly authorized and encouraged violent disruption of protests. The case has barely registered, given it arose prior to Trump’s nomination and all the other trouble Trump faces. Even Trump doesn’t care much about this case, refusing to testify, relying solely on his deposition as his testimony.
The case will not involve huge compensatory damages. Galicia wasn’t paralyzed. He was not an NFL quarterback with his throwing hand severed beyond recognition, But given that this was done intentionally, the jury can award punitive damages, damages meant to hurt the defendant and dissuade similar behavior by others in the future. Proof of the defendant’s wealth is allowed as evidence in punitive damage cases. The jury has to know how much money is needed to “punish” someone.
And, of course, that is one big problem Trump faces. Another is that the trial is in the Bronx. Expert attorneys say that Bronx juries are notorious for sticking it to the rich and spreading the money to the poor.
From The: Guardian:
And if the jury in this case does what Bronx juries tend to do, Trump might feel significant consequences, legal veterans tell the Guardian. “I’m a civil rights lawyer. If I can get a case into the Bronx, I’ll move heaven and earth,” said Randolph McLaughlin, Pace University law school professor and co-chair of Newman Ferrara LLP’s civil rights practice group. “Bronx juries, they engage in Robinhood-ism. They take from the rich and give to the rest of us – their verdicts are always generally right at the ceiling.”
“There’s no limit in the Bronx. They love to give money to the people,” McLaughlin said. “Donald Trump, as much as he is loved in certain corners of the country, he is not loved in the Bronx.”
The same could be said about the entirety of New York City. They’ve known of Trump’s “dirtiness” for decades. But the experienced pros say that the Bronx is plaintiffs’ heaven. Imagine what this jury might do, having just heard the Alex Jones’ verdicts. They won’t be afraid of big numbers. Of course, Trump will appeal any astronomical award (Will likely appeal any loss), but he could still take a substantial hit.
Last, the same experts say that the jury will not appreciate the fact that Trump can’t even be bothered to show up, relying solely on his deposition. After all, the jurors were asked to give up their time:
If jurors can take time out of their busy days to sit in judgment, you can’t take time out of your busy day?” McLaughlin said of panelists’ potential sentiment. As far as the instruction goes: “I don’t think it’s going to carry much weight. Jurors, inside themselves, are going to resent the fact. Who does he think he is? He’s not going to show up to court?”
The jury might also appreciate the fact that they’re first in line to take a big bite out of Trump. Again, any astronomical award beyond all reason will get cut back on appeal, but the jury’s inclinations will be respected. Even a reduction on appeal could cost Trump tens to over one hundred million dollars.
It will be interesting. The first actual post-Trump presidency trial with potentially big damages. We hadn’t heard much about this trial, but Trump will certainly have some things to say if things start going badly.
@JasonMiciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teen and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single dad of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, and currently studies philosophy of science, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact for speaking engagements or any concerns.