Charlottesville judge: council members don't have immunity in statue lawsuits

Published: Jun. 15, 2018 at 12:19 PM EDT
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A Charlottesville judge has issued a ruling that says the individual members of the Charlottesville City Council can be held liable for damages in a lawsuit concerning two Confederate statues.

Judge Richard Moore issued the ruling, saying councilors could be held responsible for damages caused by putting up plastic fencing and tarps on the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

However, he also said they wouldn't be responsible for physical damages to the statues since none occurred.

The big part of the ruling is that councilors could be on the hook for legal expenses as a result of the court cases.

They could be liable for attorneys' fees and other costs from a lawsuit filed by Attorney Charles Weber, area residents, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, and more.

Weber sued the city after council

last year. He said it's a protected war monument, which, under Virginia law makes it "unlawful for the authorities of the locality, or any other person or persons, to disturb or interfere with" any war monuments.

The city argued that state law applied only to war memorials built after the law was amended in 1998 (the statute was originally codified in the 1950s, after the statues were erected in the 1920s).

, a judge ruled the Jackson Statue meets criteria of being a war memorial but also chose to let the tarps stay.

Then, in February of 2018, Judge Moore ruled that the Robert E. Lee statue qualifies as well, and

for mourning after the "Unite the Right" rally to come down.

To read the full ruling, click