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Landmark Case

Date Filed

October 18, 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.

Children's Rights
Landmark Case

Date Filed

October 18, 2011

The state of Florida denied in-state college tuition rates to U.S. citizens living in the state but unable to prove the lawful immigration status of their parents – an unconstitutional policy that more than tripled the cost of tuition. The SPLC filed a federal lawsuit that ended the practice.

Hate & Extremism
Landmark Case

Date Filed

April 15, 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

Date Filed

June 10, 1969

When Montgomery, Alabama, closed its public parks and pools rather than integrate them, the local YMCA took over the city's recreational needs. As the YMCA continued to exclude blacks, Center co-founder Morris Dees sued and won a landmark court order that forced the YMCA to integrate its programs.

Landmark Case

Date Filed

June 29, 1971

The SPLC rectified a 20-year injustice in 1972 when a federal court ordered the paving of 10 miles of streets in an unincorporated black neighborhood near Selma in Dallas County, Ala. The new streets had to be equal in quality to those installed free in adjacent white neighborhoods in 1954.

Immigrant Justice
Landmark Case

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.

Landmark Case

Date Filed

July 16, 1973

The Relf sisters challenged the constitutionality of government regulations that allowed federal funds to be used to sterilize minors and mentally-challenged women who were not competent to consent to the procedure.

Children's Rights
Landmark Case

Date Filed

November 14, 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.

Criminal Justice Reform
Landmark Case

Date Filed

February 25, 1974

Conditions in Alabama's prisons were an inhumane nightmare - violent, overcrowded and unsanitary. In a 1976 landmark ruling, a federal judge declared the prisons "wholly unfit for human habitation" and ordered detailed reforms.

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