May 17, 2023
Senate Bill 5/House Bill 13 (both passed) authorizes a person who is the victim of an act that would constitute a violation of the State’s hate crime laws to bring a civil action against the person or persons who committed the act. The court may issue an injunction to prevent or restrain an act that would constitute a violation of the State’s hate crime laws and award the following to a prevailing plaintiff: (1) economic damages and any other pecuniary loss sustained by the plaintiff that was proximately caused by the hate crimes violation; (2) noneconomic damages, as specified; and (3) reasonable attorney’s fees and court costs. Damages awarded by a court may be equal to three times the amount of actual damages. Noneconomic damages deriving from emotional distress and mental anguish may not include emotional distress or mental anguish caused solely by the need to replace or repair personal or real property. The availability of a civil remedy does not affect any legal or equitable right or remedy otherwise provided by law. The bills apply prospectively to causes of action arising on or after October 1, 2023.