A federal appeals court ruled on Monday that white supremacist and nationalist groups will have to pay a more than $2 million in punitive damages to people who suffered physical or emotional injuries from the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In 2021, a jury ruled white nationalist leaders and organizations had to pay more than $26 million in damages to those who suffered injuries from the rally.

The “Unite the Right” rally was a two-day event to protest the city’s plan to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Approximately $24 million of the $26 million were for punitive damages, but a judge later cut that amount to $350,000, meaning the eight plaintiffs were going to receive only $43,750 each.

However, according to court documents, restoring more than $2 million of the slashed amount means each plaintiff will receive approximately $350,000.

A three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found a state law which caps the total dollar amount of punitive damages each person can receive to $350,000, court documents show.

In Monday’s opinion, Chief Judge Albert Diaz wrote, “… we vacate the district court’s order to the extent that it reduces the jury’s punitive damages to $350,000 for all plaintiffs under the Virginia punitive damages cap. And we remand with instructions that the district court apply the cap instead on a per-plaintiff basis.”

Before the “Unite the Right” rally began, counter-protestors clashed with white nationalists and other right-wing groups which prompted local officials to declare the rally an “unlawful assembly” and the governor declared a state of emergency, CNN previously reported.

About two hours later, James Alex Fields Jr., a white supremacist from Maumee, Ohio, intentionally drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman and injuring dozens more. Fields is serving a life sentence for murder and hate crimes. Fields’ lawyer was not immediately available for comment.

When the defendants requested the court ask the Supreme Court to question the $350,000 rule, the 4th Circuit panel rejected it and said the law was “clear enough to predict how Virginia’s high court would rule.”

“Over two years ago, the jury used its $24 million punitive damages award to send an unmistakable message to the defendants and to the public about the outrageous misconduct that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia,” Diaz wrote in the 3-0 ruling. “While the law compels us to reduce the award, it’s long past time for that message to be delivered.”

CNN reached out to the defendants’ lawyers who were not immediately available for comment.

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