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Case Name United States of America v. Avoyelles Parish School Board SD-LA-0004
Docket / Court 1:65-cv-12721-DDD ( W.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
The United States, as plaintiff, filed this school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in 1967, with Judge Edwin Hunter presiding. The United States sued the Avoyelles Parish School Board to enjoin the operation of a segregated school system ... read more >
The United States, as plaintiff, filed this school desegregation case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana in 1967, with Judge Edwin Hunter presiding. The United States sued the Avoyelles Parish School Board to enjoin the operation of a segregated school system.

Initially, the Board pursued a freedom-of-choice approach to desegregation. The Fifth Circuit at first approved the use of freedom of choice plans in United States v. Jefferson. 372 F.2d 836 (5th Cir. Dec. 29, 1966). And even in the wake of Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, 391 U.S. 430 (1968), in which the Supreme Court expressed frustration at the inadequacy of freedom of choice plans, the Western District continued to accept them as a viable option. See Adams v. Matthews, 401 F.2d 181 (5th Cir. Aug. 20, 1968); Conley v. Lake Charles School Board, 293 F.Supp. 84, 87 (W.D. La. Nov. 14, 1968) (including Avoyelles Parish). Ultimately, however, in Hall v. St. Helena Parish, a consolidated appeal of cases from across Circuit, the Fifth Circuit ordered the district courts to reverse course and solicit alternative plans from the various defendant school boards. 417 F.2d 801 (5th Cir. May 28, 1969) (including Avoyelles Parish).

Through the 1970s and 80s, the Board and the United States worked on various desegregation plans. On April 22, 1987, a private plaintiff was allowed to intervene on behalf of his minor child. The district court remained active through the 1980s and 1990s, approving and modifying various Board plans. On July 7, 1988, for example the district court (Judge Nauman Scott) ordered the Parish to close a number of schools after finding the Board's proposed plan unacceptable. Through the 2000s, the Board continued to make various amendments, with court approval, to its desegregation plans, including lots of school construction.

By the 2012, the district court began to declare unitary status in some areas, including transportation, faculty and staff and extracurricular activities. Then on May 21, 2015, the court declared unitary status in student assignment and discipline -- but decided to retain jurisdiction for monitoring purposes for three years.

As of early 2017, the district court retained jurisdiction over some areas and the case remained on-going.

Available Opinions
United States v. Avoyelles Parish School Board, Civ. A. No. 65-12721, 2009 WL 1505305 (W.D. La. May 28, 2009) (admonishing the Board for its generally slow progress in achieving unitary status; largely approving a "radical" new plan from the Board to achieve desegregation)
United States v. Avoyelles Parish School Board, Civ. A. No. 65-12721, 2011 WL 2356977 (W.D. La. Mar. 22, 2011) (approving school construction expenditure)
United States v. Avoyelles Parish School Board, Civ. A. No. 65-12721, 2016 WL 3636698 (W.D. La. June 29, 2016) (dispute over attorneys fees for plaintiff-intervenor's attorney)

Greg Margolis - 02/25/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Busing
Discrimination Prohibition
Preliminary relief granted
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Education
School/University Facilities
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title IV, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000c et seq.
Defendant(s) Avoyelles Parish
Plaintiff Description The United States and, later, private plaintiff intervenor
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Declaratory Judgment
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing SD-LA-0026 : Hall and United States of America v. St. Helena Parish School Board (M.D. La.)
SD-LA-0014 : Conley v. Lake Charles School Board, Calcasieu Parish School Board (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0037 : 29 Related School Desegregation Cases in the Western District of Louisiana (W.D. La.)
Additional Resources
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  Avoyelles Parish Public Schools: Louisiana School for the Agricultural Sciences’ Admission Policies as a Breeding Ground for a Return to Legal Segregation
SSRN
Date: Mar. 15, 2017
By: Daisha Latrice Hodges (Southern University Law Center Law Student)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
65-12721 (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0004-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 04/15/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:65-cv-12721-DDD (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0004-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/22/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Ruling [ECF# 48] (2009 WL 1505305) (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0004-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 05/28/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Ruling and Order [ECF# 131] (2011 WL 2356977) (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0004-0004.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 03/22/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Supplemental Motion to Submit Minutes of the Needs Assessment Committee of the Avoyelles Parish School Board [ECF# 220]
SD-LA-0004-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judgment [ECF# 213] (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0004-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/14/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum and Ruling [ECF# 365] (2016 WL 3636698) (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0004-0005.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 06/29/2016
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Drell, Dee D. (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0004-0001 | SD-LA-0004-0003 | SD-LA-0004-0004 | SD-LA-0004-0005
Plaintiff's Lawyers Dann, Mark (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Hebert, Janice E. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000 | SD-LA-0004-9001
Holmes, Allen (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9001
Jeansonne, Mark A. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Knoll, Eddie (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9001
Larvadain, Malcom Xerxes (Virginia)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Marshall, Franz (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0004-9000 | SD-LA-0004-9001
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0004-9001
Taylor, Lisa M. (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Vincent, Katherine (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Wilson, Ryan C (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Zisser, Aaron B. (California)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Ieyoub, Richard P. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9001
Kelly, Michael F. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Lafargue, David Edwin (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000 | SD-LA-0004-9001
Lee, James T. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Riddle, Charles A. III (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-0002 | SD-LA-0004-9000 | SD-LA-0004-9001
Roy, Cory P. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Starns, Remy V. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000 | SD-LA-0004-9001
Other Lawyers Foti, Charles C. Jr. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Pecantte-Burton, Lucretia P. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000
Rabalais, Rodney M. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0004-9000

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