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Landmark Case

Date Filed

January 13, 1970

This suit forced Alabama to reapportion its state legislature and discard the voting system that diluted the voting strength of African Americans. The result was the adoption of single-member districts and the 1974 election of 15 black legislators.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

December 16, 2013

After an Alabama man discovered that state laws refusing to recognize his lawful same-sex marriage from another state would prevent him from collecting the proceeds of a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of his deceased husband, the SPLC filed a federal lawsuit to overturn the laws. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision legalizing same-sex marriage, a federal judge ruled that he could collect the proceeds as the surviving spouse.

Economic Justice

Date Filed

July 23, 2014

The SPLC filed a federal class action lawsuit against Tennessee for Medicaid practices that deprived thousands of people of health care coverage despite eligibility. These policies resulted in some residents – including those with serious medical conditions – going needlessly without health care.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

August 22, 2012

Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Public School System failed to provide adequate translation and interpretation services for Spanish-speaking parents with limited English proficiency and created an environment hostile to Latino students. The school system provided school notices in English to English-speaking parents but failed to provide this information to Spanish-speaking parents in Spanish – discriminating against these students and violating state and federal law. The SPLC filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice, resulting in a settlement agreement between the school system and federal authorities.

Criminal Justice Reform
Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

February 07, 2013

When Alabama legislators revised the state’s anti-immigrant law in 2012, they passed a law requiring the state to maintain an online list of immigrants who are detained by law enforcement, who appear in court for any violation of state law, and who unable to prove they are not “unlawfully present aliens.” It provided no means for people to be removed from this “black list” if the listing is an error or if their immigration status changes. The Southern Poverty Law Center and its allies filed a federal lawsuit to stop this state-sanctioned “blacklisting” of immigrants, which could encourage harassment and violence.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

June 08, 2011

Students at Jackson Public School District’s Capital City Alternative School have regularly been disciplined for minor infractions, such as not wearing a belt or for wearing mismatched shoelaces, by being shackled for hours at a time to a fixed object. The lawsuit was filed after Jackson Public Schools refused to respond to a demand letter requesting that the school district end these practices.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

September 26, 2014

After a Florida pre-kindergarten program refused to assist a 3-year-old girl with type 1 diabetes by monitoring her glucose levels, the SPLC filed a lawsuit on behalf of the child. Reflecting a statewide problem faced by many children with diabetes, the lawsuit describes how the program violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by refusing to accommodate the student’s needs. A settlement agreement was reached to ensure the pre-kindergarten program will take steps to ensure it does not discriminate against children with diabetes.

Criminal Justice Reform
Active Case

Date Filed

June 17, 2014

The Alabama Department of Corrections (ADOC) systemically puts the health and lives of prisoners at risk by ignoring their medical and mental health needs and discriminating against prisoners with disabilities – violations of federal law by a prison system that has one of the highest mortality rates in the country. The SPLC and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program (ADAP) filed suit to end the deplorable conditions in Alabama prisons.

Date Filed

May 14, 2013

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.

Children's Rights
Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

June 02, 2011

Children held at the Henley-Young Juvenile Justice Center in Jackson, Miss., were denied mental health services and subjected to verbal abuse and threats of physical harm by staff members. The Southern Poverty Law Center and Disability Rights Mississippi filed a class action lawsuit in June 2011 after numerous attempts to resolve the issues with county officials failed. A settlement agreement to protect youth at the facility was approved in March 2012.

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