The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, at the University of Michigan Law School, brings together and analyzes information and documents about important civil rights cases across the United States. It is organized by case category. Currently, the categories include:
For details on these case categories, click here.
As of today, October 10, 2015, the Clearinghouse is posting at least partial information on 6,557
cases, including a litigation summary for each, as well as 47,035 dockets, complaints, filings, opinions,
settlements, court orders, and other documents.
Some of these cases are historical, but many more are current; the site is strongest for cases from the 1990s to present.
- Child Welfare
- Criminal Justice (Other)
- Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
- Election/Voting Rights
- Equal Employment
- Fair Housing/Lending/Insurance
- Indigent Defense
- Intellectual Disability (Facility)
- Jail Conditions
- Juvenile Institution
- Mental Health (Facility)
- National Security
- Nursing Home Conditions
- Prison Conditions
- Public Accomm./Contracting
- Public Benefits / Government Services
- Public Housing
- School Desegregation
- Speech and Religious Freedom
The site is dedicated to injunctive rather than damages litigation—that is, to cases seeking policy or operational change, not cases seeking money. For each of the categories, our eventual goal is to include a close-to-comprehensive catalog of the cases in which plaintiffs have actually been awarded or negotiated such change.
The litigation we make accessible to the public has transformed a huge number of governmental institutions—schools, prisons, mental health facilities, housing authorities, police departments, child welfare agencies, etc. Injunctive cases have closed some institutions and opened others, dominated budget politics, become models for statutory interventions, and generally regulated practices. Thousands of such cases have been filed over the past fifty years and new cases are filed all the time; hundreds, old and new, are ongoing and remain influential.
For each included case, we gather available crucial documents, including: the docket sheet, which indexes the litigation's progress in court from filing to termination; the complaint, which initiated the litigation; any decrees issued by courts or agreed to by parties; and any published opinions. If we know about other case-related resources—website, case studies, and the like—we link to or post them. (For opinions published via Lexis or Westlaw, we often provide links to those services rather than the opinions themselves, but we are also working hard to find and post public-access versions of the opinions.) Finally, the law students who work on the site also summarize each case: where, when, what was involved, outcome.
If you're interested in a case and want to know more, we don't have any additional information, but you should be able to use the docket sheet to guide further research, via the federal court's PACER system, the National Archives, or contacting the lawyers.
We are happy to consider new categories of cases, new cases in current categories, and new documents. You can propose additions to the Clearinghouse using our suggestion/feedback page.
We hope you enjoy using the collection; start at the search page.