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Legal Memorandum: Provision for a Private Right of Action

Issue: Do the Virgin Islands Civil Rights Laws Provide for a Private Right of Action?

Area of Law: Constitutional Law
Keywords: Private right of action; Civil rights laws
Jurisdiction: Federal, Virgin Islands
Cited Cases: 923 F.2d 258; 188 F.3d 172; 304 U.S. 64; 536 U.S. 273; 441 U.S. 677; 901 F. Supp. 199; 382 F.3d 412; 659 F. Supp. 1417; 881 F.2d 28; 251 F.3d 465; 451 U.S. 28; 277 F. Supp. 2d 600; 524 F.2d 19
Cited Statutes: 10 V.I.C. § 61; 24 V.I.C. § 451; 10 V.I.C. § 7; 1 V.I.C. § 4 ; 10 V.I.C. § 61; 10 V.I.C. § 64; 42 U.S.C. § 1983; 10 V.I.C. § 71; 10 V.I.C. § 73; 10 V.I.C. § 74; 10 V.I.R.R. § 69-8 C.(1)(d); 10 V.I.C. § 69
Date: 05/01/2007

The Virgin Islands civil rights statute is 10 V.I.C. § 61, et seq., and the law against labor-related discrimination is 24 V.I.C. § 451, et seq

The plain language of 10 V.I.C. § 7, explicitly confers:

Whoever, whether as owner, officer, manager, agent, or employee of any business or industrial establishment, labor organization, place of public accommodation, resort or amusement, or club, violates any of the provisions of this chapter, shall, for each and every such violation, be —

 

   (1) liable in actual damages, and in addition, thereto, to punitive damages not to exceed $ 5,000 to be recovered in a civil action by the person aggrieved thereby or by any resident of the United States Virgin Islands to whom the person aggrieved may assign his cause of action;

 

10 V.I.C. § 7.  See also Figueroa v. Buccaneer Hotel, Inc., 41 V.I. 502, 188 F.3d 172, 178 (3d Cir. 1999) (expressly finding that, “contrary to the holding of the District Court, a Title 10 claimant is not required to bring a claim with or through the Commission because chapter 1 of Title 10 creates a private cause of action for discrimination.”)

Title 4, Section 76 of the Virgin Islands Code was amended “to vest in the Territorial Court jurisdiction over all civil actions regardless of the amount in controversy, effective October 1, 1991.”  See Estate of Thomas Mall, Inc. v. Terr. Ct. of V.I., 923 F.2d […]

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