University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name Cooksey v. Caddo Parish School Board SD-LA-0049
Docket / Court 5:17-cv-00607 ( W.D. La. )
State/Territory Louisiana
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Case Summary
This case involved a challenge to Caddo Parish School Board's decision to merge two all-black high schools: Booker T. Washington and Fair Park. Cooksey marks one challenge in a long history of school desegregation litigation efforts in the Caddo Parish School District, captured in ... read more >
This case involved a challenge to Caddo Parish School Board's decision to merge two all-black high schools: Booker T. Washington and Fair Park. Cooksey marks one challenge in a long history of school desegregation litigation efforts in the Caddo Parish School District, captured in SD-LA-0002 in this clearinghouse. The case was assigned to Judge Elizabeth E. Foote in the Western District of Louisiana.

A 1981 consent decree required Caddo Parish School Board to provide a qualitatively equal education at Booker T. Washington and Fair Park relative to other schools in the district. This order remains ongoing to this day. In 2017, the Caddo Parish School Board decided to merge these two schools and turn Fair Park into a middle school. The decision, according to the Board, would save money and resources. On May 5, 2017, the plaintiffs, parents of students attending Fair Park and a Fair Park alumni association, brought this suit to enjoin the merger and declare the School Board's actions unconstitutional. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, brought suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the Equal Protection Clause, as well as violations of the 1981 Consent Order and state law. On the same day, the plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order (TRO) enjoining the defendant from merging the schools through the duration of this case.

Three days later, on May 8, the School Board responded in opposition to the TRO. It argued that the claims were unrelated to the 1981 Consent Order and that the conversion of Fair Park was unrelated to race and would aid the students. But on May 16, plaintiffs reported that they no longer intended to move for preliminary relief, and they voluntarily withdrew their motion the next day. At this point, the case was referred to Magistrate Judge Karen L. Hayes for a scheduling conference.

A trial was set for June 18, 2018. On July 26, 2017, however, the plaintiffs moved for an extension of time to amend their complaint. The plaintiffs informed the court that they intended to amend their complaint to make their suit a class action, involve more schools of the Caddo Parish, and include additional issues related to their case. The court granted the extension, giving the plaintiffs until August 27, 2017.

August 27 came and went. The plaintiffs never filed their amended complaint, and during this time, the school merger was completed.

There was no action on the docket until February 13, 2018, when Magistrate Judge Hayes ordered a conference. At this conference, both sides reported that the terms of the 1981 Consent Order did "not affect matters of public policy," and thus, the Consent Order was unrelated to the Board's decision to merge schools. The parties jointly stipulated to dismissal, and the court granted the dismissal on February 20, 2018.

The case is now closed.

Cade Boland - 03/27/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Defendant-type
Elementary/Secondary School
General
Education
Racial segregation
School/University Facilities
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
State law
Defendant(s) Caddo Parish School Board
Plaintiff Description Parents of students attending Fair Park High School in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 05/05/2017
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing SD-LA-0002 : Jones v. Caddo Parish School Board (W.D. La.)
Docket(s)
5:17-cv-00607 (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0049-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
SD-LA-0049-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Minutes [00:05] [ECF# 37] (W.D. La.)
SD-LA-0049-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/20/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Foote, Elizabeth Erny (W.D. La.) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0049-0001 | SD-LA-0049-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Jones, Pamela R. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0049-0002 | SD-LA-0049-9000
Jones, Allison Anne (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0049-0002 | SD-LA-0049-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Abrams, Reginald W. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0049-9000
Carnie, Brian Ross (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0049-9000
Priestley, William Henry (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0049-9000
Sutherland, Fred H. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-LA-0049-9000

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