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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.

Criminal Justice Reform

Date Filed

August 13, 2002

The ventilation system on Alabama's death row was broken, resulting in stifling, stagnant, medically dangerous heat in the prisoners' 55-square foot cells. The Center sued to allow inmates to purchase fans at their own expense. An anonymous donor provided free fans to all death row inmates.

Children's Rights

Date Filed

December 15, 2003

Originally filed in 1975, this class action lawsuit is aimed at improving the education provided to thousands of Mississippi schoolchildren with educational disabilities.

LGBTQ Rights

Date Filed

April 14, 1980

In 1977, Marie Von Hoffburg, a female service member of the United States Army, was discharged due to her alleged sexual orientation. The Southern Poverty Law Center appealed the decision on her behalf alongside the American Civil Liberties Union.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

November 01, 2006

Federal immigration agents conducted illegal searches and relied on racial and ethnic profiling while carrying out a massive series of raids, according to this federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

August 05, 2010

The SPLC filed a federal class action lawsuit on behalf of more than 350 Filipino teachers who were lured to Louisiana to teach in public schools under the federal H-1B guest worker program. The teachers were cheated out of tens of thousands of dollars and forced into exploitive contracts. A jury in 2012 ordered a labor recruiting firm and its owner to pay $4.5 million in damages to the teachers.

Criminal Justice Reform
Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 12, 2011

South Carolina passed an extreme anti-immigrant law in 2011. The law required police to demand “papers” demonstrating citizenship or immigration status during traffic stops when they have “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an undocumented immigrant. It also criminalized everyday interactions with undocumented immigrants. The SPLC joined a coalition of civil rights groups in filing a federal class action lawsuit challenging the law as unconstitutional. A settlement reached in 2014 blocked major provisions of the law.

Date Filed

February 10, 2010

Bernard Monroe Sr., an elderly black man, was shot to death on his front porch by a white police officer who had entered his house in Homer, La., without apparent justification or a warrant. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a wrongful death lawsuit that alleged two white officers created a volatile situation when they entered Monroe’s property during a gathering of his family and friends on Feb. 20, 2009. A settlement agreement was reached with the town in August 2010.

Immigrant Justice

Date Filed

October 19, 2011

Linda Smith, a U.S. citizen, and “John Doe,” an undocumented immigrant, had been a couple for more than nine years. When they decided to marry, they could not obtain a marriage license from the Montgomery County Probate Office in Alabama because the office denied licenses to couples unable to prove both partners have legal immigration status. The policy was not required by any federal or state law. The SPLC filed a lawsuit challenging the policy.

Hate & Extremism

Date Filed

June 26, 2003

After a Texas rancher invited the vigilante border patrol group Ranch Rescue to guard his property in 2003, two Salvadorans crossing the U.S. border were terrorized and assaulted by members of the group. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Salvadorans, obtaining more than $1 million in a settlement and judgments, including the title to Ranch Rescue’s Arizona headquarters.

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