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Case Name Smith vs. Concordia Parish School Board SD-LA-0007
Docket / Court 1:65-cv-11577-DDD-JDK ( W.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On November 30, 1965, the plaintiffs brought this class action school desegregation suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs, African-American schoolchildren by and through their parents, sued the defendant Concordia Parish School Board to enjoin the ... read more >
On November 30, 1965, the plaintiffs brought this class action school desegregation suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana. The plaintiffs, African-American schoolchildren by and through their parents, sued the defendant Concordia Parish School Board to enjoin the operation of a segregated school system. In 1966, the United States intervened as a plaintiff.

Like other cases in the Western District of Louisiana, the district court (Judge Ben Dawkins) was initially amenable to the Parish's freedom-of-choice plan. And 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). 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 Concordia 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 Concordia Parish).

After the Fifth Circuit's decision in Hall, the district court approved a new plan from the Board -- only to have it again struck down by the Fifth Circuit on December 5, 1969. And so the process continued, with the district court finally adopting a plan submitted by the United States Department of Health, Education and Welfare, subject to further wrangling and modifications by the parties. A plan was eventually adopted on February 1, 1970. Of note here is that the Board had also proposed sex segregation as part of its plan -- which the district court found to be racially motivated and thus unacceptable as part of the plan. (See ECF #82, Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law).

In the early 1970s, there was quite a bit of litigation over the Board's hiring practices, including the criteria it used to hire and fire faculty, and a decision to fire twenty black educators and hire twenty-five white ones prior to the start of the 1970-71 school year.

Through the 1980s and into the early 2000s, the litigation died down, with the Parish filing its annual progress reports. There was more activity in the early 2010s, with the addition of a charter school in the district.

As of early 2017, this case is still on-going.

Available Opinions
Smith v. Concordia Parish School Board, 445 F.2d 285 (5th Cir. June 15, 1971) (consolidated)
Smith v. Concordia Parish School Board, 331 F.Supp. 330 (W.D. La. Aug. 18, 1971)
Smith v. Concordia Parish School Board, 1972 WL 11593, No. 11577 (W.D. La. Sept. 1, 1972)
Smith v. Concordia Parish School Board, 493 F.2d 8 (5th Cir. Apr. 24, 1974)
Smith v. Concordia Parish School Board, 387 F.Supp. 887 (W.D. La. Jan. 14, 1975)
Smith v. Concordia Parish School Board, 393 F.Supp. 1101 (W.D. La. May 15, 1975)
Smith & United States of America v. Concordia Parish School Board, 2013 WL 12140135, Civ. A. No. 65-11577 (W.D. La. Jan. 4, 2013)
Smith v. Concordia Parish School Board, 2015 WL 12778433 (W.D. La. Jan. 20, 2015)

Greg Margolis - 02/26/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Busing
Discrimination Prohibition
Hire
Magnet school
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Student assignment
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Education
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
School/University policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
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
Defendant(s) Concordia Parish
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs were African-American school children by and through their parents, with the United States as an intervening plaintiff.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 1965
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing SD-LA-0014 : Conley v. Lake Charles School Board, Calcasieu Parish School Board (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0026 : Hall and United States of America v. St. Helena Parish School Board (M.D. La.)
SD-LA-0037 : 29 Related School Desegregation Cases in the Western District of Louisiana (W.D. La.)
Docket(s)
11577 (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0007-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/15/2006
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:65-cv-11577-DDD-JPM (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0007-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/03/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
DELTA CHARTER GROUP’S SECOND STATUS REPORT [ECF# 64]
SD-LA-0007-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/12/2013
Source: Pro Publica
Order [ECF# 81] (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0007-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/20/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law [ECF# 82] (2015 WL 12778433) (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0007-0003.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Date: 01/20/2015
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Dawkins, Benjamin Cornwell Jr. (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0007-0002 | SD-LA-0007-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Bronstein, Alvin J. (Mississippi)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Cage, Joseph S. Jr. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Cohen, Frances S. (Massachusetts)
SD-LA-0007-9000
Collins, Robert Frederick (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Daniel, Tamica (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0007-9000
David, Harris (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Eiland, James A. Jr. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Johnson, Kenneth D. (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Johnson, Jadine (Alabama)
SD-LA-0007-9000
Maranzano, Jennifer L. (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0007-9000
Marshall, Franz (District of Columbia)
SD-LA-0007-9000 | SD-LA-0007-9001
Rachlin, Carl (New York)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Sobol, Richard B. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Vincent, Katherine (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0007-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Barry, Denis A. (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Magee, Norman (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0007-9001
Wood, Christie C (Louisiana)
SD-LA-0007-0001

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