Individualized Damages from Racially Motivated Arson

Jun 23, 2011

Dr. John Johnson provided individualized damages calculations for families who had lost their homes in a racially motivated fire. In December 2004, dozens of homes in an ongoing development in Indian Head, Maryland, were burned to the ground allegedly by the security personnel guarding the site. The homes that burned down were at varying stages of completion and were owned by families with differing personal and financial situations. The arson’s impact on one family was different from its impact on the next. Dr. Johnson’s damages analysis accounted for the arson’s idiosyncratic effect on each family. These damages calculations captured a wide range of losses, including:

  • Losses from vacation leave that families had to take following the arson
  • The net additional costs that families incurred through delayed occupancy of their homes
  • Sunk costs that the families were unable to recover following the arson


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