Case Docket

Summaries of our current and historical civil rights cases.

We have a rich history of litigating important civil rights cases on behalf of the most vulnerable in society. Our cases have smashed remnants of Jim Crow segregation; destroyed some of the nation’s most notorious white supremacist groups; and upheld the rights of minorities, children, women, the disabled and others who faced discrimination and exploitation. Many of our cases have changed institutional practices, stopped government or corporate abuses, and set precedents that helped thousands.

Currently, our litigation is focused on five major areas: children’s rights, economic justice, immigrant justice, LGBT rights, and mass incarceration.

Here are summaries, in a searchable format, of our current cases in addition to many over the previous four decades.

Showing 152 Results
Children's Rights
Landmark Case

Date Filed

October 12, 1998

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.

Hate & Extremism

Date Filed

August 27, 1998

In 1988, a white fair housing advocate and her daughter were harassed and threatened over the internet by Klansmen and neo-Nazis. After they filed complaints with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Center achieved justice against the hate groups.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

June 10, 1998

A little girl with a severe speech disorder received a special device to help her communicate with family and friends after the Center settled a class action lawsuit against the Alabama Medicaid Agency in 1998.

Mass Incarceration

Date Filed

May 26, 1997

Inside Chess, Harper's, Astronomy, Writer's Digest — only a few of the hundreds of publications effectively banned in 1997 under an arbitrary policy implemented by the Alabama prison's warden. The Center sued, securing an agreement protecting inmates' rights to mailed reading materials.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

December 31, 1996

Prior to a Center suit, Alabama immigrants seeking to obtain their state driver's license were turned away or asked to complete the English-only tests. Although the case was ultimately lost on appeal, due to the Center's lawsuit Alabama now offers the driver's license test in eight foreign languages.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

December 30, 1996

An Alabama tax assessor who used racial slurs denied tax exemptions to non-English speaking immigrant homeowners, and forced them to pay double the normal taxes. The Center filed suit, ending this discriminatory policy and securing reimbursements.

Hate & Extremism
Landmark Case

Date Filed

June 06, 1996

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.

Mass Incarceration

Date Filed

December 11, 1995

In 1995, a prison inmate confined to Alabama's segregation unit filed a pro se complaint to protect his First Amendment rights to receive newspapers and magazines. The ruling lifted a statewide ban against segregated inmates receiving outside reading materials.

Mass Incarceration
Landmark Case

Date Filed

May 14, 1995

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."

Hate & Extremism
Landmark Case

Date Filed

February 26, 1995

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.

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