Pioneering law prof offers legal strategy for Va. students denied National Merit award notices

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As Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares investigates potential civil rights violations in the widespread withholding of timely National Merit Scholar award notifications to students in suburban Washington, D.C., possibly on “equity” grounds, a local law professor known for public health crusades is floating a novel legal strategy for aggrieved students.

George Washington University’s John Banzhaf says Virginia courts this century have recognized a “somewhat obscure” class of legal claims known as “prima facie torts” that don’t depend on difficult-to-prove allegations such as intentional infliction of emotional distress or racial discrimination.

He told Just the News he’s “reaching out to some individuals, as well as organizations,” to suggest they represent students against their 17 high schools in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince Williams counties, given that they can “probably” recoup attorney’s and maybe contingency fees.

School officials have denied intentionally keeping the awards from students but haven’t …

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