IJ is determined to always remain on the cutting edge of strategies and tactics to advance individual liberty. One method we are pioneering is the use of class action lawsuits to challenge government power.
In a major milestone in IJ history, we won class action certification in our lawsuit challenging Philadelphia’s forfeiture machine. This means our clients—Chris and Markela Sourovelis, Norys Hernandez, Doila Welch and Nassir Geiger—are officially standing up for the more than 20,000 property owners in the city who were threatened with civil forfeiture under the Controlled Substances Forfeiture Act in the last five years. As you read in the December newsletter, IJ is also seeking class action status in two other property rights cases and should have updates later this year.
Philadelphia police and prosecutors use civil forfeiture to take in nearly $6 million each year in forfeiture proceeds, which they use to pay salaries and other expenses. The core claim of the lawsuit we filed in August 2014 challenges this direct financial incentive police and prosecutors have to seize and forfeit property.