University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Johnson v. Champaign Community Schools SD-IL-0005
Docket / Court 1:00-cv-01349-JBM-JAG ( C.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Case Summary
On October 4, 2000, African American students of Champaign County Unit School District #4 filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court of the Central District of Illinois against the School District. The lawsuit, based on complaints of racial segregation in schools, arose under 42 U.S.C. § 1 ... read more >
On October 4, 2000, African American students of Champaign County Unit School District #4 filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court of the Central District of Illinois against the School District. The lawsuit, based on complaints of racial segregation in schools, arose under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Title VI"), and other state and federal law. The plaintiff, represented by private counsel, sought to have the Court approve and order enforcement of a previously drafted consent decree.

This consent decree incorporated various memoranda and a Resolution Agreement made by the School District and the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights ("OCR"), resulting from several families initiating complaints with the OCR in May and July of 1996. The initial complaints with the OCR alleged system-wide discrimination in student assignment, intra-school segregation, and discrimination in tracking, discipline, and staff-hiring and assignment. On June 15, 1998, the School District entered into the Resolution agreement with OCR, resolving issues from the initial complaints and OCR investigations.

However, this lawsuit was initiated due to a dispute between the original families who initiated the complaints and their private counsel, and the association Of the People, who were actively aiding the families in their efforts. On July 28, 2000, Racial Justice Now (the successor association to Of The People) filed a school desegregation suit against the School District, prompting this lawsuit.

On January 29, 2002, the Court (Judge Joe Billy McDade) approved the Second Revised Consent Decree. The Consent Decree, expiring in the 2008-2009 school year, outlined increased seating capacity to remedy student assignment problems, a budget for educational equity reforms, improvement of hiring practices, and a Controlled Choice Plan to incentivize school improvement and increase diversity. On December 9, 2002, the OCR formally closed its monitoring of the case.

On February 19, 2009, the plaintiffs submitted a motion to the Court to modify the Consent Decree or to vacate it and initiate a trial. The plaintiffs requested an extension of the Consent Decree's student assignment portion past the original 2009 expiration, claiming that the School District had not yet added and sought funding for additional seats in majority-white north side schools. The parties entered a Joint Motion for Settlement Approval, granted by the Court on November 4, 2009, terminating the Consent Decree and specifying policies regarding student assignment as well as the creation of an Education Equity Excellence Committee, resolving the remaining issues in regards to student assignment discrimination.

On June 1, 2011, the Court ordered that the defendant pay $701,159.03 in attorney's fees to the plaintiffs. On July 1, 2011, the Board of Education filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (11-02485), and on July 14, 2011, the plaintiffs filed a cross appeal (11-02601). Both appeals concerned the appropriate amount of attorney's fees. On July 18, 2011, the appeals were consolidated and on April 24, 2012, the Court granted the parties' joint motion for an indicative ruling, allowing the case to be remanded and resulting in a total of $496,290.24.

On June 7, 2012, the Court entered an order approving a settlement agreement approving the fees and closing the case.

Claire Lally - 01/27/2015

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals and Timekeeping
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Student assignment
Elementary/Secondary School
Race discrimination
Disciplinary procedures
Disparate Treatment
Racial segregation
School/University policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Causes of Action Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
State law
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Champaign County School District
Plaintiff Description African-American Students of Champaign Community Unit School District #4 Schools
Indexed Lawyer Organizations None on record
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration 2002 - 2010
Case Closing Year 2012
Case Ongoing No
1:00-cv-1349 (C.D. Ill.) 06/07/2012
SD-IL-0005-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order [Approving Consent Decree] 01/29/2002 (188 F.Supp.2d 944) (C.D. Ill.)
SD-IL-0005-0008 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: Westlaw
Champaign Unit School 2008 Notice 11/03/2008
SD-IL-0005-0002 PDF | Detail
Monitoring Report #5 06/22/2009
SD-IL-0005-0001 PDF | Detail
Document Source: Pro Publica
Order 07/15/2009 (C.D. Ill.)
SD-IL-0005-0003 PDF | Detail
Document Source: Pro Publica
Settlement Agreement 07/28/2009
SD-IL-0005-0005 PDF | Detail
Document Source: Pro Publica
Opinion and Order [Granting Motion for Settlement Approval] 11/04/2009 (2009 WL 3765846) (C.D. Ill.)
SD-IL-0005-0006 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Opinion and Order [Concerning Attorneys' Fees] 06/01/2011 (2011 WL 2160944) (C.D. Ill.)
SD-IL-0005-0007 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Motion for the Approval of Proposed Settlement Agreement 05/29/2012
SD-IL-0005-0004 PDF | Detail
Document Source: Pro Publica
Order & Opinion 06/07/2012 (C.D. Ill.)
SD-IL-0005-0009 PDF | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Gorman, John A. (C.D. Ill.) [Magistrate]
McDade, Joe Billy (C.D. Ill.)
SD-IL-0005-0003 | SD-IL-0005-0006 | SD-IL-0005-0007 | SD-IL-0005-0008 | SD-IL-0005-0009 | SD-IL-0005-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Ashley, Carol R. (Illinois)
SD-IL-0005-0004 | SD-IL-0005-0005 | SD-IL-0005-9000
Hervey, Venita (Illinois)
Howard, Robert C. (Illinois)
Mangold Spoto, Kathleen (Illinois)
SD-IL-0005-0005 | SD-IL-0005-9000
Matlack, Joan (Illinois)
Thomas, William Woods (Illinois)
SD-IL-0005-0005 | SD-IL-0005-9000
Vargas, Rafael A (Illinois)
SD-IL-0005-0005 | SD-IL-0005-9000
Weltman, Stewart M. (Illinois)
Defendant's Lawyers Dillon, Erika (Illinois)
Hardy, Whitnie D. (Illinois)
Hardy, Whitney D. (Illinois)
Relias, John Alexis (Illinois)
SD-IL-0005-0005 | SD-IL-0005-9000
Scott, Sally J. (Illinois)
SD-IL-0005-0005 | SD-IL-0005-9000
Smith, Jennifer A (Illinois)
SD-IL-0005-0002 | SD-IL-0005-0004 | SD-IL-0005-0005 | SD-IL-0005-9000
Sneed, Maree F. (District of Columbia)
Spivey, Dawn M. (Illinois)
Whitten, Patricia J. (Illinois)
Other Lawyers Thies, David C. (Illinois)
Voci, Edward A. (Illinois)

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