Oklahoma judge throws out a suit seeking reparations for the Tulsa Race Massacre

An Oklahoma judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by survivors of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that sought reparations for the destruction of the predominantly Black Greenwood district.

The ruling: Judge Caroline Wall on Friday dismissed the lawsuit attempting to compel the city and other entities to pay reparations for the loss and destruction suffered during the massacre.
* The lawsuit was filed in 2020 by the survivors, who are all now over 100 years old.
* Judge Wall based her decision on arguments from the city, regional chamber of commerce, and other state and local government agencies.

The lawsuit’s basis: The case was filed under Oklahoma’s public nuisance law, claiming the actions of the white mob continue to impact Tulsa.
* The lawsuit stipulated that Tulsa’s history of racial tension and division originated from the massacre, which saw a white mob destroy a 35-block area, resulting in numerous deaths and making thousands homeless.
* The lawsuit argued that there was no compensation from the city or insurance companies for victims’ losses, and the massacre has led to enduring racial and economic disparities.

What they sought: The survivors demanded a detailed examination of the wealth and property lost in the massacre, establishment of a hospital in north Tulsa and creation of a victims’ compensation fund.
* A Chamber of Commerce lawyer contended that the massacre, though horrific, did not continue causing a nuisance.

Comparison legal case: Oklahoma’s public nuisance law was used in 2019 to make opioid drug manufacturer Johnson & Johnson pay $465 million in damages to the state, a decision later overturned by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

View original article on NPR

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