This case docket contains details of SPLC legal actions.

All Landmark Cases

Landmark Case

Bradley v. Haley

Date Filed: 
01/15/1992

Mental health experts described the conditions for Alabama's seriously mentally ill prisoners as "horrific" and "primitive." Mentally ill inmates were locked in isolation, usually without proper medication, and deprived of professional mental health services such as therapy and counseling. The Center sued and secured change for the inmates.

Landmark Case

Berhanu v. Metzger

Date Filed: 
11/22/1989

In 1988, racist Skinheads beat an Ethiopian graduate student to death with a baseball bat. Mulugeta Seraw was murdered by recruits of neo-Nazi leader Tom Metzger, founder of White Aryan Resistance (WAR), who faced a Center civil suit and a $12.5 million judgment.

Landmark Case

R.C. v. Fuller

Date Filed: 
11/15/1988

Concerned about inappropriate services and mental health treatment provided to children placed in Alabama foster care, the Center joined with mental health lawyers and sued in 1988, forcing drastic changes in the ways these cases are handled.

Landmark Case

McKinney v. Southern White Knights

Date Filed: 
03/24/1987

"Black and white together" is one of verses of the famous civil rights hymn, "We Shall Overcome." But when blacks and whites marched together in all-white Forsyth County, Georgia, in 1987, they were greeted with Klansmen throwing rocks and shouting racial slurs.

Landmark Case

Donald v. United Klans of America

Date Filed: 
06/14/1984

On March 20, 1981, members of the United Klans of America abducted a young African-American man at random, put a noose around his neck, beat him, cut his throat and hung his body from a tree. The Center sued the Klansmen and won an historic $7 million judgment.

Landmark Case

Nowak v. Foster

Date Filed: 
02/17/1984

For years, unmined coal in Kentucky was virtually exempt from taxation, leaving Kentucky's public schools and other services grossly underfunded. Fair tax advocates worked with the Center to file suit challenging Kentucky's unfair tax system, resulting in improved regulations.

Landmark Case

Vietnamese Fishermen's Association v. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

Date Filed: 
04/16/1981

Armed men in Klan robes spewed hate-filled threats, burned crosses and destroyed shrimp boats. White fishermen, fearful of competition from Vietnamese immigrants, invited the Klan to Galveston Bay, Texas. The Center sued and brought an end to their illegal activities, including paramilitary training camps.

Landmark Case

Brown v. Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan

Date Filed: 
11/03/1980

In 1979, over 100 Klan members attacked Decatur, Alabama marchers protesting the conviction of Tommy Lee Hines, a retarded black man accused of rape. After a ten-year fight, the Center secured criminal convictions and financial compensation for the victims.

Landmark Case

Wilkins v. Lanier

Date Filed: 
10/19/1979

Cotton mill workers contracted brown lung, or byssinosis, by inhaling tiny dust particles on a daily basis as they went about their work. The Center sued, achieving a breakthrough financial settlement and regulations to protect the health and safety of cotton mill workers.

Landmark Case

Beck v. Alabama

Date Filed: 
01/01/1979

The United States Supreme Court struck down Alabama's "kill 'em or let 'em go" death penalty statute in a landmark decision that reversed the Alabama State Supreme Court and vacated the death sentences of plaintiff Gilbert Beck and 10 other men on death row.