St. Louis Civil Rights Law Cases
Read selected civil rights and constitutional law cases litigated by the Law Offices of Thomas E. Kennedy III:
U.S. et al. v. Wallschlaeger, 3:14-cv-00129-SMY (S.D. Ill.).
We represented tenants of a trailer park in Effingham, Illinois who were victims of racial discrimination. Our client, a resident of the trailer park, became disabled and invited his niece to move in and assist him with activities of daily living. When she invited her African American boyfriend to live with them, the manager of the mobile home park refused to allow him on the lease. Racial epithets and threats were then directed to the young man. No African Americans had ever lived in the trailer park before. Eventually all three clients had to move from the park. The clients contacted HOPE Fair Housing Center in Chicago, which referred the case to the U.S. Department of Justice. Caucasian and African American testers then visited the park and inquired about possible residency: the Caucasian testers were immediately offered a lease, while the African American testers were discouraged from applying. The U. S. Dept. of Justice filed suit against the owner of the trailer park as well as the managers, and our clients intervened in the case. After lengthy pretrial discovery, the case was eventually settled. Pursuant to a consent decree, our clients were received damages in the amount of $217,500, the landlord paid a civil penalty of $50,000, and the landlord agreed to establishment of nondiscriminatory application process and to Fair Housing training.
Joan Hoyt v. Law School Admission Council (E.D. Mo. 2013).
Together with Jo Anne Simon, a Brooklyn, N.Y attorney who specializes in disability law, our office represents an individual who was denied reasonable testing accommodations to address her anxiety disorder and learning disabilities when taking the LSAT. A complaint for injunctive relief was filed on September 4, 2013.
EEOC and Pamela Perry v. Comprehensive Behavioral Health Ctr. of St. Clair County, Inc., (S.D. Ill. 2012).
Our firm recently filed a Complaint in Intervention on behalf of Pamela Perry in an EEOC employment discrimination case in federal court in East St. Louis. Our client has multiple sclerosis. Ms. Perry was a mental health counselor with 23 yrs. of experience at the Center but was discharged after her employer denied her accommodations requests. She asked for a quiet work area, a dictation program (like Dragon Naturally Speaking) so she could dictate her case notes rather than handwrite them, and the right to wear tennis shoes at work instead of painful dress shoes. All of her requests were denied. She was replaced by a person with less experience who was a personal acquaintance of the Center’s director. Our client seeks reinstatement, back pay, and damages. The EEOC also seeks policy changes at the Center to require compliance with the ADA. No. 3:12-cv-01031-WDS-SCW.
Alexander v. Baxton, et al. (S.D. Ill. 2012).
Alexander settled her federal ADA and Section 504 claims against the Village of Alorton, Illinois, its police chief, and four police officers for the sum of $110,000.00. Alexander has transverse myelitis and very limited feeling in her legs. She stands and ambulates with leg and arm braces. In August 2011 she was falsely arrested after a disturbance at the Greystone Apartments housing project in Alorton, then transported to the Village’s inaccessible police station. Despite the accessibility requirements imposed by the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Village Board inexplicably decided in 2005 to move the police station down a flight of stairs from its City Hall. Alexander was booked downstairs, then forced to walk back up to the Village’s jail holding cell, which remained at street level; on multiple occasions she had to walk up and downstairs without assistance and while handcuffed behind her back. She was confined overnight in a filthy jail holding cell, denied her pain medication, could not stand or move around the cell without her braces, and could not use the inaccessible toilet, sink or drinking fountain. Eventually she was released without charges. All records of Alexander’s police interrogation plus video footage of Ms. Alexander moving inside and outside the police station were allegedly “lost.” After filing her lawsuit, Ms. Alexander agreed to participate in the U. S. District Court’s mediation program, and her case was finally settled in September 2012. No. 3:12-cv-00042-MJR-SCW.
Frazer et al. v. City of East St. Louis et al. (S.D. Ill. 2011).
In July 2011, a jury returned a verdict for our clients, two former members of the East St. Louis Fire and Police Board of Commissioners who were removed from their positions after opposing racial discrimination in the hiring of police officers in East St. Louis. The jury awarded compensatory damages and punitive damages in excess of what the plaintiffs sought. No. 3:09-cv-802-JPG-SCW.
Hiltibran v. Levy (W.D. Mo. 2010).
This suit, brought on behalf of MO Healthnet (Missouri Medicaid) recipients, challenges the State’s failure to provide medically necessary incontinence supplies to individuals over twenty years in age. On December 27, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge Nanette K. Laughrey granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. The trial on the merits is now scheduled for Sept. 26, 2011. Our clients are all over twenty years of age and suffer from a range of disabilities. They all live in their own homes or with family members and their doctors have determined that adult diapers are medically necessary to prevent skin breakdowns and infections, which can lead to other life threatening conditions. Without these products, our clients are likely to go into nursing homes, where ironically the adult diapers are covered by Medicaid. Nursing home care costs the state about $4,000 per month. The adult diapers for our clients cost no more than a few hundred dollars.Our complaint alleged violations of the federal Medicaid law, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Judge Laughrey granted a preliminary injunction and evenutally summary judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. This case is being brought by the Law Offices of Thomas E. Kennedy, III, L.C., Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and the Saint Louis University Legal Clinic. No. 2:10-cv-4185-NKL.
Tarvin, et al., v. Board of Educ., East St. Louis Sch. Dist. No. 189, et al., (S.D. Ill. 2009).
Our clients are two precinct committeemen and a local union official who were employed by the school district as carpentry supervisor, and in-house detention coordinator and school security coordinator. They were demoted and suffered pay decreases because they supported candidates for school board other than those endorsed by the Democratic Party. This First Amendment retaliation case sought declaratory and injunctive relief and damages. After the District Court denied the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, the case was settled. No. 3:09-cv-655-GPM-CJP.
Bouas v. Board of Educ., Mascoutah Comm. U. Sch. Dist., Charge No. 19, (Illinois Human Rights Commission 2008).
This was an employment discrimination case against a school district which initially hired our client, a former police officer, then fired him from his campus monitor job when it learned that he received disability benefits. Our client sought reimbursement, back pay and reinstatement to the job. The case settled. Charge No. 560-2008-02929.