In the News

Massachusetts Supreme Court Orders Case Against Harvard Over Use Of Slave Photos To Proceed

BOSTON, MA – Today, the Massachusetts Supreme Court vacated a prior ruling by the Massachusetts Superior Court dismissing the claim of Tamara Lanier and her family for negligent infliction of emotional distress. The Court remanded the case to the Superior Court with directions to allow the plaintiff to amend her complaint to incorporate a claim of reckless infliction of emotional distress.

“This historic win marks one of the first times in United States history that a court has ruled that slaves’ descendants can seek accountability for the atrocities to which their family members were subjected over 170 years ago,” said Josh Koskoff, Partner of Koskoff, Koskoff and Bieder and Tamara Lanier’s attorney. “Harvard is not the rightful owner of these photos and should not profit from them. As Tamara Lanier and her family have said for years, it is time for Harvard to let Renty and Delia come home.”

In today’s ruling, the Court recognized the merits of the lawsuit and largely reinstated the Lanier family’s case against Harvard, stating that “failing to recognize that the plaintiff, as a descendant of Renty and Delia, may have a claim to the daguerreotypes superior to Harvard’s is precisely the sort of miscarriage of justice that the late Chief Justice Gants warned us against perpetuating.”

Koskoff, Koskoff & Bieder has offices in Bridgeport, New Haven and Danbury. The nationally known law firm has achieved record verdicts for people who suffer serious personal injuries or economic harm from medical malpractice, violation of their civil or constitutional rights, dangerous products, negligence, drunk drivers, corporate or governmental abuse and commercial misconduct.