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Case Name Mattie T. v. Johnston ED-MS-0001
Docket / Court DC-75-31S ( N.D. Miss. )
State/Territory Mississippi
Case Type(s) Disability Rights-Pub. Accom.
Education
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On April 25, 1975, the Children's Defense Fund filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi on behalf of "all school age children in the state of Mississippi who are disabled or regarded by their Local Education ... read more >
On April 25, 1975, the Children's Defense Fund filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi on behalf of "all school age children in the state of Mississippi who are disabled or regarded by their Local Education Agency as disabled" against the Mississippi Department of Education. The Plaintiffs, represented by private counsel and counsel from the Children's Defense Fund and the ACLU, sought declaratory and injunctive relief, claiming that the Defendants failed to provide appropriate educational opportunities to handicapped children in Mississippi.

On July 28, 1977, the Court (Judge Orma Rinehart Smith) granted summary judgment for the Plaintiffs, holding that the state had violated the Education of the Handicapped Act (20 U.S.C. §§ 1401, et seq.). This holding led to a consent decree between the parties, which was signed on January 26, 1979, and was aimed at correcting the Defendants' noncompliance with federal and state law regarding the education of handicapped children. This consent decree remained in place for over twenty years, however, due to the Defendants' noncompliance, the litigation was reopened in 2001.

This led to an amended consent decree signed by the parties on December 23, 2003. This agreement, set to expire in 2011, was updated to foster compliance with the newly passed Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997. The agreement required the Defendants to hire consultants, to create a system for identifying handicapped children and creating Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) in order to create the Least Restrictive Environment for the education of handicapped children. It also required extensive monitoring and reporting, as well as the implementation of non-discriminatory assessment/evaluation procedures.

On July 3, 2012, the Parties, being satisfied with the steps taken by the Defendants, moved for dismissal with prejudice of the 2003 Amended Consent Decree. On December 10, 2012, the court granted the motion to dismiss, ordering the case dismissed with prejudice. The court praised the defendant's efforts, saying they had increased educational outcomes for all students in MS. Because of the positive changes, the court granted the motion to dismiss.

Joshua Arocho - 07/24/2012
Erin Chapman - 02/05/2015


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Goals and Timekeeping
Hire
Monitoring
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Disability
disability, unspecified
Least restrictive environment
Discrimination-basis
Disability (inc. reasonable accommodations)
General
Classification / placement
Education
Failure to train
Funding
Individualized planning
Record-keeping
School/University policies
Special education
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Indv. w/ Disab. Educ. Act (IDEA), Educ. of All Handcpd. Children Act , 20 U.S.C. § 1400
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Mississippi Department of Education
Plaintiff Description All school age children in the state of Mississippi who are disabled or regarded by their Local Education Agency as disabled
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1979 - 2012
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Courts and Kids: Pursuing Educational Equity Through the State Courts
By: Michael Rebell (Columbia University, and Campaign for Educational Equity)
Citation: (University of Chicago Press, 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
Case: 2:75-cv-00031-MPM (N.D. Miss.) 07/31/2009
ED-MS-0001-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
2:75−cv−00031−MPM (N.D. Miss.) 12/10/2012
ED-MS-0001-9002.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order 10/04/1976 (74 F.R.D. 498) (N.D. Miss.)
ED-MS-0001-0005.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Google Scholar
Memorandum of Decision 05/18/1981 (522 F.Supp. 72) (N.D. Miss.)
ED-MS-0001-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
2003 Modified Consent Decree 12/23/2003
ED-MS-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Joint Motion to Dismiss with Prejudice the 2003 Modified Consent Decree 07/03/2012
ED-MS-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Order Dismissing Case with Prejudice 12/10/2012 (N.D. Miss.)
ED-MS-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Mills, Michael P. (N.D. Miss.)
ED-MS-0001-0001 | ED-MS-0001-0006 | ED-MS-0001-9002
Smith, Orma Rinehart (N.D. Miss.)
ED-MS-0001-0004 | ED-MS-0001-0005 | ED-MS-0001-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bowie, Courtney (New York)
ED-MS-0001-9002
Bridges, Billy G. (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Carlson, George C. Jr. (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Comstock-Galagan, Jim (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-0001 | ED-MS-0001-0002
Edelman, Marion Wright (Massachusetts)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Freeland, Thomas H. III (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Johnson, Roy E. (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Lipton, Linda (District of Columbia)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Luckett, Semmes (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
May, A. Cinclair (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
McDade, Helen J. (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
McKenzie, William H. III (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Parvin, Gary R. (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Ramberg, Charles H. (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Sims, Shields (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Taylor, Stanley (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Yohalem, Daniel (District of Columbia)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Jernigan, Arthur F. (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Mason, Thomas (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001
Patterson, Leigh Ann Howerton (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9002
Pizzetta, Harold Edward III (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-0001 | ED-MS-0001-0002 | ED-MS-0001-9002
Other Lawyers Lewis, Michael T. (Mississippi)
ED-MS-0001-9001

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