M.C. was born with an intersex condition – a difference in reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit the typical definition of male or female. When M.C. was just 16 months old and in the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services, doctors and department officials decided the child should undergo sex assignment surgery to make M.C. a girl. There was no medical reason to perform this surgery, which robbed M.C. of the opportunity to decide what should happen to his body. The SPLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of M.C.’s adoptive parents.
When Alabama correctional guards handcuffed Larry Hope to a metal hitching post and left him shirtless, virtually without water, and without bathroom breaks in the Alabama sun for seven hours, they should have known that their actions were unlawful, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2002.
Victoria and Jason Keenan were chased and shot at by members of the Aryan Nations in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Held at gunpoint, the mother and son feared for their lives. The Center sued and obtained a $6.3 million jury verdict; Aryan Nations was forced to turn its compound over to the victims it had terrorized.
An African-American teenager was denied school enrollment simply because she was homeless. The Center immediately sued, and "Penny Doe" was soon enrolled in school. The case was settled with officials adopting policies to ensure compliance with federal law.
On a summer evening in 1995, members of the Christian Knights of the KKK set a fire completely destroying a 100-year-old black Baptist church in South Carolina. The Center sued the Klan on the church's behalf, winning the largest judgment ever awarded against a hate group.
In 1995, Alabama corrections officials brought back the barbarity of chain gangs. The Center sued, claiming that chaining men in groups of five and putting them on busy highways was cruel and dangerous. The lawsuit put an end to the Alabama chain gang and another torturous practice called the "hitching post."
Fearful that his white supremacist group would be sued over the murder of a black sailor, the leader of the Church of the Creator sold the group's property to the late neo-Nazi leader William Pierce. The Center sued and obtained a $1 million judgment against the COTC and a $85,000 judgment against Pierce.
Indigent dialysis patients face terrible dilemmas, such as being forced to decide whether to buy food or get transportation to medical care. In 1994, the Center filed a suit obtaining medically necessary transportation for Medicaid recipients in need. Although the case was ultimately lost on appeal, Alabama Medicaid recipients currently receive state-funded transportation due to the Center's lawsuit.
For killing an African-American Gulf War veteran, a white supremacist "reverend" received an award of honor from the leaders of the racist Church of the Creator (COTC). In the wake of this horrible crime, the Center sued the COTC for inciting violence against African-Americans.