October 18, 2023

Willkie helped secure a settlement in its pro bono litigation involving allegations of an attack on a Biden-Harris campaign bus days before the 2020 presidential election.

The City of San Marcos, Texas, and three of its police officials have settled Cervini v. Stapp, a case alleging that they failed to appropriately respond to a so-called “Trump Train” on Interstate 35 that swarmed and assaulted Biden-Harris supporters aboard a campaign bus on October 30th, 2020. In settling this case, the city, on behalf of the San Marcos Police Department, admitted to falling short of its own policing standards, agreed to institute mandatory training for all officers, and agreed to pay a total of $175,000 in damages to the plaintiffs whom they failed to protect.

The lawsuit, brought by Willkie alongside Protect Democracy and the Texas Civil Rights Project, claimed that the San Marcos Police Department violated the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, a statute that makes it illegal for law enforcement to negligently fail to take steps to prevent certain conspiracies to engage in election-related violence or intimidation.

Read the more about the case here and the view the settlement agreement here.

The Willkie pro bono team was led by partners Michael Gottlieb, Robert Meyer and Samuel Hall and included associates Aaron Nathan, Rebecca Heath, Madeleine Tayer, Jamielah Yancey, John P. Catalanotto, Amy Orlov, Christina Peck, Lindsay Kirschner and Noah Mussmon. They were joined by co-counsel from Protect Democracy and the Texas Civil Rights Project.

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