The NAACP Legal Department maintains an active docket of Civil Rights cases, frequently in conjunction with a team of cooperating lawyers around the nation who work daily in the courts alongside the Legal Department to address Civil Rights violations and forge the way in the fight to prevent the erosion of Civil Rights law in this country.
While the NAACP does seek monetary relief in these cases, the primary focus of the NAACP’s Legal Program is to obtain injunctive relief in these cases to halt the perpetuation of the harm. The NAACP may become involved in civil rights litigation in one of two ways:
- The NAACP may file a lawsuit against a person or entity as an organizational Plaintiff to redress a civil rights violation; or
- The NAACP Legal Department may represent a individual or class of individual Plaintiffs in a civil rights lawsuit seeking redress for the Plaintiff or class of Plaintiffs who suffered a civil rights violation
Below is a list of selected NAACP Civil Rights cases in recent years:
State of Texas v. Kleinert, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (Texas State Conference)
National Office approved Texas State Conference filing of amicus brief challenging federal court’s expansive application of sovereign immunity in dismissing an indictment against a police officer criminally charged for shooting and killing unarmed victim.
Stamps v. Town of Framingham, U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit (New England Area Conference)
National Office approved New England Area State Conference joining amicus brief in this police shooting case. There was raid in the house and officer aimed rifle at elderly man who complied with all officer instructions and accidentally shot him. The officer claimed qualified sovereign immunity. The federal appeals court rejected that claim.
New York Metro Council of NAACP Branches v. Monster Worldwide, et al., Supreme Court of the State of New York
National Office approved lawsuit against defendants for running job listings saying that persons with felony convictions were ineligible for employment, in violation of New York law.
City of Philadelphia v. NAACP: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (National Office)
The NAACP challenged the City of Philadelphia’s newly enacted ordinance banning non-commercial billboards in Philadelphia airport in response to NAACP billboard publicizing the high rate of incarceration in the United States. The case was argued before the Third Circuit on October 8, 2015, and we await the court’s decision.
Commonwealth v. Lataprasad, Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, (New England Area Conference)
The National Office approved the request of the New England Area State Conference to sign onto an amicus brief. The brief was written to support the defendant in a criminal case whose Judge used their discretion to provide a lower sentence under the mandatory minimum sentence required.
Fisher v. University of Texas-Austin (Fisher II) (National Office and Texas State Conference)
The NAACP and Texas State Conference filed an amicus brief in this case which argues that the University of Texas’ admissions policy is narrowly tailored to meet the compelling state interest, thus complying with the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Liddell v. Board of Education of the City of St. Louis, MO (National Office)
NAACP filed a motion in 2016 to enforce 1999 Court Order to desegregate St. Louis City public schools. The NAACP, a plaintiff in the original case, alleges that diversion of sales tax revenue to charter schools not part of the St. Louis Public School system violates terms of consent decree.
Williams, et al v. TX Taxpayer & Student Fairness Coalition, et al. (Texas State Conference)
National Office approved request from the Texas State Conference to join amicus curiae brief filed in Texas Supreme Court arguing that trial judge was within his discretion in considering funding levels to determine whether the state had provided a constitutionally adequate education to the plaintiffs.
Doe v. Peyser (New England Area Conference and Boston Branch)
National Office approved intervention in support of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in litigation seeking to remove statutory cap on the number of charter schools operating in Massachusetts.
Silver v. Halifax County Board of Commissioners (North Carolina State Conference) General Court of Justice, Superior Court Division, North Carolina
National Office approved request from North Carolina State Conference to institute litigation in Halifax County, NC regarding education inadequacy. The County operates three schools in the county, two of which are overwhelmingly African-American and the other of which is predominately white. The white school receives superior funding, employs more qualified teachers, and produces better educational outcomes for its students than the two majority African-American schools.
Michigan v. Environmental Protection Agency (National Office)
NAACP, represented by EarthJustice, participated as respondent-intervenor in helping to defend EPA rule against industry challenge. The case reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which sustained the rule in large part but remanded to the agency for further proceedings on the estimated industry cost to comply with the rule.
Gilcreast et al. v. Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, P. C., et al. (National Office, Flint Branch, Michigan State Conference)
NAACP Legal Department serves as co-counsel in class action lawsuit against state actors and two major engineering firms for gross negligence, professional negligence, violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act and implementing regulations, and violations of other legal requirements related to the leaching of lead contaminants into the water supply in Flint, Michigan. Members of the Flint Branch are the named class representatives and the Michigan State Conference was instrumental in helping to identify potential plaintiffs.
Evenwel v. Abbott (National Office and Texas State Conference)
NAACP signed on to amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the state of Texas in this case. The brief argued that Texas lawfully sought to equalize total population in drawing voting districts for state legislature and was not required to equalize voting age population. Supreme Court held that drawing voting districts based on total population was constitutionally permissible and declined Texas’s belated invitation to rule on whether equalization of voting age population would have been constitutionally permissible.
Shapiro v. Mack (Virginia State Conference)
National Office approved Virginia State Conference’s request to file an amicus curiae brief in this case. The issue presented was whether, in a case requiring decision on the merits by a three-judge panel under 28 U.S.C. § 2284 (including certain cases filed under the Voting Rights Act), a single district judge may dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim for relief under Rule 12(b)(6) absent a finding that the complaint is wholly frivolous. The Supreme Court held, consistent with the Conference’s position, that motions to dismiss in such cases must be decided by a three-judge panel.
Las Vegas Branch NAACP, et al. v. Cegavske (Las Vegas Branch)
National Office approved lawsuit alleging that State of Nevada violated the NVRA, Sect. 7 requirement to have voter registration at state public service departments. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit reversed the District Court ruling against the Branch and held that “plaintiffs satisfied the standing requirement of Article III by plausibly alleging that they suffered injury in fact fairly traceable to the State’s noncompliance with Section 7 of the Act.” The case has been remanded for further proceedings and assigned to a new judge.
Whitman v. Personhuballah, (Virginia State Conference)
National Office approved request of Virginia State Conference to file amicus brief in U.S. Supreme Court arguing that Commonwealth of Virginia impermissibly packed a higher number of African Americans into voting district than was necessary for them to select a candidate of their choice, eliminating potential minority opportunity district in violation of Section 2 of Voting Rights Act
NAACP v. McCroy (North Carolina State Conference)
National Office approved challenge to North Carolina’s restrictive voting bill passed in wake of Shelby County v. Holder. In April 2016, the court ruled against NAACP and other plaintiffs, holding that the challenged voting restrictions were not discriminatory and did not cause a negative effect upon African American voter registration or participation. Plaintiffs are appealing to the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Common Cause, et al. v. Kemp (Georgia State Conference)
National Office approved suit against Georgia state officials challenging state’s purging of voters from rolls in a manner proscribed by the National Voter Registration Act . The biennial purges likely fall more heavily on African-American communities because of their comparative lack of involvement in the electoral process.
Georgia State Conference v. Hancock County Board of Elections, et. al.
National Office approved request from Georgia State Conference to file lawsuit against Hancock County election officials for improper vote purging procedure under National Voter Registration Act and Voting Rights Act.
Georgia State Conference v. Emanuel County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education
National Office approved State Conference’s request to file Voting Rights Act case against County officials for drawing voting districts for County Board of Commissioners and School Board in a manner that prevents African-Americans and Latinos from selecting candidates of choice.
New Jersey NAACP v. the State of New Jersey
New Jersey State Conference settled National Voter Registration Act claim against New Jersey Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services (“DMAHS”) and Division of Family Development (“DFD”) alleging failure to offer voter registration services. Settlement agreement includes strong NVRA compliance, monitoring, reporting, staffing and training provisions. Term of agreement is through December 31, 2018.
NAACP v. City of Kyle, Texas (2009)
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Case Nos. 09-50352 and 09-50505 (Dowload the .pdf of the brief).
NAACP v. City of Kyle (Zoning Restrictions case)
The NAACP and its Texas State Conference challenged discriminatory zoning regulations in the City of Kyle, Texas. The plaintiffs have filed their appellate brief in this matter.
Kelvis Rhodes v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc; NAACP v. Cracker Barrel Old County Store, Inc; McDermott and Gentry v. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.
Case against Cracker Barrel on behalf of individual plaintiffs.
NAACP v. Waffle House, Inc
Allegations of public accommodation discrimination against African American restaurant guests by Waffle House in Alabama, Georgia and North Carolina.
NAACP v. A.A. Arms and NAACP v. Accusport
Challenging gun manufacturers and distributors, for their negligent production, distribution, and marketing of handguns.
NAACP, by its Omaha Branch, and on behalf of its individual members v. Heineman
Challenging action by the State of Nebraska that will serve to create three racially distinct school districts in Omaha.
Avila v. Berkeley Unified School District
Challenging the School District’s use of race as a factor in making school assignments.
State of Connecticut v. Spellings, Secretary of Department of Education
The State of Connecticut sued the U.S. Department of Education on grounds that the “No Child Left Behind Law” (NCLB) is an unfunded mandate.
Metts v. Irons
Challenging a state redistricting plan had the effect of denying black voters equal opportunity.
Fair Housing in Huntington Comm. v. Huntington
Allegations that Huntington’s continued conduct violates the Equal Protection clause of the Constitution and several civil rights statutes.
Prairie View Chapter of NAACP v. Kitzman; Prairie View Chapter of NAACP v. Waller County, Texas
Ruling to continue early voting time at Prairie View A&M University in Waller County, Texas.
NAACP by its Omaha Branch, and on behalf of its individual members v. HEINEMAN
Challenge action by the State of Nebraska that will serve to create three racially distinct school districts in Omaha.
Hollman v. Cisneros
Allegations of the perpetuation of de jure racial segregation in low-income housing.
NAACP v. City of Kyle, Texas
Challenging certain municipal zoning ordinances enacted by the City of Kyle.
Cleveland Branch of the NAACP v. Parma
Challenging discriminatory hiring practices in the City of Parma.
NAACP v. City of Thomasville
Seeking to keep in place a 1987 consent judgment requiring the use of some single-member districts.
Thomas County Branch of the NAACP v. City of Thomasville School District
Action was brought in an attempt to end alleged racial segregation on behalf of all similarly situated students of African-American descent.
Florida State Conference of Branches, NAACP v. State of Florida Department of Corrections
Four separate and consolidated cases against the Florida Department of Corrections
Springfield Branch, NAACP v. City of Springfield Illinois
Attempt to resolve differences about the validity of the physical ability examination for fire fighters
NAACP v. St. Landry Parish
Challenging the redistricting plans of the St. Landry Parish School Board and Council because they violated Section 2 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting strength of black voters in St. Landry Parrish.
Common Cause v. Billups
Challenging Act 53 on the ground that it imposes an unauthorized and undue burden on the right to vote of Georgia voters.
Goodwine v. Taft
A school desegregation lawsuit was filed by the Dayton NAACP and individual plaintiffs against the Dayton, Ohio school district and the State of Ohio
Aziz v. City of Ft. Myers
A group of Ft. Myers’ citizens called the Citizens for a Better Fort Myers Pac have proposed to modify the City Charter.
NAACP v. Florida Board of Regents
NAACP’s appeal of the governor’s unilateral mandate to exclude racial considerations in the college admissions process.
Bush v. Holmes
Challenging the constitutionality of statute establishing opportunity scholarship program (OSP).
Metts v. Irons
Voting Rights Act violations in a redistricting plan that eliminated long-standing cross-racial alliances.
Owens v. Colo. Cong. of Parents
Challenging that the Colorado Opportunity Contract Pilot Program is unconstitutional.
NAACP v. City of Reading (2006)
Charging the Reading, Pennsylvania Fire Department with implementing discriminatory recruitment and hiring practices against African Americans and other minorities.
Amos v. GEICO (2006)
Alleging GEICO discriminates against African Americans through its process of establishing auto insurance premiums for its customers.
Connecticut v. Spellings, Secretary, United States Department of Education (2006)
Challenging certain provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act.