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Hate & Extremism
Landmark Case

Date Filed

November 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.

Criminal Justice Reform
Landmark Case

Date Filed

January 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.

Hate & Extremism
Landmark Case

Date Filed

November 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.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

June 11, 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.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

November 16, 2010

Staff members at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in Mississippi abused their authority by selling drugs to the youths in their care, brutally beating them and even engaging in sexual relationships with them. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the teenagers and young men held at the facility. A groundbreaking settlement agreement was reached that will ensure children and teens incarcerated in Mississippi will no longer be housed in the privately run prison or subjected to brutal solitary confinement.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

August 19, 2013

An Alabama law gave tax breaks to families transferring their children to successful schools, discriminating against impoverished students in the state’s Black Belt region who were trapped in failing schools. The SPLC asked a federal court to permanently block the Alabama Accountability Act, saying the law violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause because it impermissibly created two classes of students assigned to failing schools – those who can escape them because of their parents’ income or where they live and those who cannot.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

December 13, 2006

A class administrative complaint against the Caddo parish, Louisiana, school district.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

September 21, 2007

At the Calcasieu Parish Public School System in Louisiana, students with disabilities or emotional disturbances were deprived of the educational services required under federal law. The SPLC filed a class administrative complaint against the school district and reached a negotiated settlement agreement ensuring the services are provided and these students are not arbitrarily removed from class.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

February 10, 1982

The Southern Poverty Law Center sought a permanent injunction in 1982 to stop operators of the church-run Bethesda Home for Girls from physically and emotionally abusing the "wayward" girls sent to them for care and instruction.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

January 18, 2009

New regulations for the nation’s H-2B guest worker program, enacted in the waning days of the Bush administration, threatened to weaken worker protections and make it easier to replace U.S. workers with temporary foreign labor. The Southern Poverty Law Center and a coalition of immigrant rights advocates filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new regulations.

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