Gen Con is wrapping up today. This morning, there’s still no indication the Indianapolis Police Department has arrested Matt Loter, the man Jeremy Hambly identified as his assailant. In fact, there’s been no word that they’ve even questioned him.
That’s not good. If you think Matt Loter should be punished for assaulting Jeremy Hambly, it would be nice if the police did their jobs. If you count on the police protecting you against those who would do you harm, think again. You are totally dependant on whether the police will do their jobs or not. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. It’s a fickle thing.
Would a prosecutor even take the case to trial?
Even if the police arrest Loter and present the case to the prosecutor, it’s doubtful they would elect to prosecute. The reason? Both Hambly and Loter live out-of-state, Wisconsin and Connecticut, respectively. The witnesses most likely live out-of-state too. If Loter is ever going to be convicted in a criminal trial, it will depend heavily on witness testimony. If the prosecutor was going to take the case to trial, they have to hope the witnesses will come back to Indianapolis to testify in court as to what they witnessed for what most likely would be a misdemeanor.
And for what exactly? Hambly didn’t seek medical attention after the attack. That would indicate he wasn’t injured in the attack. Hambly said exactly that in YouTube videos that he has since removed from public view. He also didn’t return home to Wisconsin after the attack, nor even try to get a temporary restraining order against Loter. That would indicate the attack, and the threat of future attacks by Loter wasn’t a concern of Hambly’s.
What damages did Jeremy Hambly suffer?
Other than a favorite shirt, it’s not clear how Hambly suffered any damages from the attack. In fact, the opposite is true. Hambly received a lot of positive public attention after news of the attack was made public. Subscriptions to his two YouTube channels, TheQuartering, and Unsleeved Media, are almost guaranteed to go up now.
Speaking of non-existent damages, Hambly is planning on suing Mr. Loter in civil court. There’s even a GoFundMe campaign raising money for the lawsuit, not by Hambly, by artist Ethan Van Sciver.
How would a lawsuit even work?
I don’t quite understand how a civil lawsuit would work in this case. Again, Jeremy experienced no real damages from the cowardly attack. He didn’t seek medical attention, nor did he feel the need to leave the con and go home. He did get positive exposure from the attack, something quite valuable for a YouTuber with two channels.
Van Sciver has raised over $13,000 in two days for Hambly. When the campaign is over, and Van Sciver gives Hambly the money, he’s under no legal obligation to use the money on a civil trial. Even if he did sue Loter and then won the lawsuit, would a jury or judge award him anything close to $13,000?
I doubt it. He’d have to show his damages. Again, it doesn’t appear he has any. If he had gone to the hospital and then left Gen Con in fear of his safety, he could have shown he had some damages. Even then, I don’t think his damages would amount to anything close to $13,000. There wasn’t any pain and suffering because he didn’t seek medical attention. He also didn’t leave the convention. If anything, he was able to capitalize on the attack. Good for him. As Jesus H. Christ famously said, turn lemons into lemonade. Hambly turned the incident into a giant tumbler of delicious lemonade.
The cap on small claims judgments where the attack took place is $8,000. I doubt a small claims judge would award Hambly anything close to that amount considering he can’t prove damages.
The GoFundMe campaign throws up red flags
When I learned there was a crowdfunding drive to seek justice for Jeremy Hamley initiated by Ethan Van Sciver, I began looking at this story with a much more critical eye. The GoFundMe campaign states the following:
The perpetrator has been identified, and will be arrested shortly.
Really? Although the perpetrator has been identified, I don’t know how anyone can say for certain he will be arrested. If he’s not arrested, will the people donating money to Jeremy Hamley then get a refund?
I”m extremely leery of anyone asking for donations, especially when they make claims they have no way of ensuring it will come true. Just because you hope the police arrest Jeremy’s attacker doesn’t mean it will happen. That’s not the way things work.
But then what do I know? I’m not a lawyer. I didn’t go to law school or pass the bar.
If I were in a position to recommend a course of action for Hamley, I’d recommend he try to take the case to Judge Judy. Not only would the show pay for both parties to fly to Los Angeles and stay in a hotel, including any witnesses, it would also pay each litigant as well as any witnesses. Both Hamley and Loter would make compelling TV. Additionally, both parties would benefit professionally from the TV exposure. Hamley with his YouTube channels and Loter with the games he’s designed and the Connecticut game store he and his wife operate.
When in doubt, go to Judge Judy.