California

The Ralph Act

The Ralph Act is a civil rights law, enforced by the DFEH, which has aim to protect individuals with special characteristics and their property from violence or intimidation by the threat of violence. The Ralph Act is codified in California’s Civil Code Section 51.7 according to which all individuals have the right to be free from any kind of violence, or intimidation by threat of violence, committed against them or their property, based on race, religion, color, political affiliation, ancestry, sexual orientation, sex, age, citizenship, immigration status, age, or position in labor dispute.

Acts of Violence

According to CACI 3063, in case the plaintiff claims that the defendant committed an act of violence against him or his property he must be able to prove all of the following elements to establish the claim:

  • Defendant committed a violent act against the plaintiff or against his property
  • The essential motivating reason for the defendant’s conduct was his perception of the plaintiff’s race, religion, color, political affiliation, ancestry, sexual orientation, sex, age, citizenship, immigration status, age, or position in labor dispute
  • Plaintiff was harmed
  • Defendant’s unlawful conduct was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff

Threats of Violence

According to CACI 3064, in case the plaintiff claims that the defendant intimidated by threat of violence he must be able to prove all of the following elements to establish the claim:

  • Defendant intentionally threatened violence against the plaintiff or his property, whether or not the defendant actually intended to carry out the threat
  • A substantial motivating reason for the defendant’s conduct was his perception of plaintiff’s race, religion, color, political affiliation, ancestry, sexual orientation, sex, age, citizenship, immigration status, age, or position in labor dispute.
  • A reasonable person in plaintiff’s position would have believed that the defendant would carry out his threat
  • A reasonable person in plaintiff’s position would have been intimidated by the defendant’ conduct
  • Plaintiff was harmed
  • Defendant’s unlawful conduct was a substantial factor in causing harm to the plaintiff

Examples of Bias-Related Crimes, Forbidden by the Law:

  • Threats, written or verbal
  • Physical assault or attempted assault
  • Arson
  • Bomb threats
  • Hate-related graffiti, swastikas and other aggressive symbols
  • Cross-burning
  • Disturbance of religious meetings
  • Vandalism or property damage

Damages Available in a Ralph Act Lawsuit

In successful claims, the victims are entitled to the following remedies:

Actual Damages, Which Include:

  • Cost of the medical treatment, related to any physical injuries
  • Lost wages while the victim was recovering
  • Pain and suffering
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Loss of consortium
  • Financial losses, related to the threats or violence, such as mental anguish of living in fear, moving costs or addition security at work or home

Punitive Damages:

In a successful Ralph Act lawsuit, the court can order additional damages for the victims. The plaintiff can be entitled to punitive damages even if he already got a full compensation for caused harm or injuries.

Civil Fine: The Ralph Act also allows plaintiff to recover a fine of $25,000.

Restraining Order: The victims can get a restraining order and the defendant can be fined or jailed.

 

 

 

Kaass LM

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