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Case Name Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, Inc. v. Maryland Higher Education Commission SD-MD-0002
Docket / Court 1:06-cv-02773-CCB ( D. Md. )
State/Territory Maryland
Case Type(s) School Desegregation
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
This is a case about how the Maryland Higher Education Commission, a division of the Maryland Department of Higher Education, must treat historically Black colleges & universities (HBCUs) in relation to typically White institutions (TWIs). On October 23, 2006, a non-profit corporation comprising ... read more >
This is a case about how the Maryland Higher Education Commission, a division of the Maryland Department of Higher Education, must treat historically Black colleges & universities (HBCUs) in relation to typically White institutions (TWIs). On October 23, 2006, a non-profit corporation comprising current and former students and staff at HBCUs, called the Coalition for Equity and Excellence in Maryland Higher Education, Inc., filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. The Coalition sued the State of Maryland, the Department of Higher Education, the Maryland Higher Education Commission, and their respective leaders. Represented by private counsel, along with the U.S. Department of Justice, the plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief to enjoin the State of Maryland from continuing discriminatory practices with relation to higher education institutions. The plaintiff asserted that the State violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, and a previously negotiated ‘Partnership Agreement’ between the parties involved in this suit by failing to provide equal treatment to HBCUs and by the practice of unnecessarily duplicating programs from HBCUs at nearby TWIs; the latter charge alleges that recreating unique programs from HBCUs at geographically proximate TWIs undermines the value of the HBCUs’ programs, emphasizes a ‘separate but equal’ higher education structure, and puts the schools in competition with a clear preference for TWIs.

On January 30, 2007, District Judge Catherine C. Blake stayed and administratively closed the case until a time when the plaintiffs were prepared to move forward with litigation. On January 29, 2008, the case was reopened in accordance with the stipulations of the stay. On May 2, 2008, Judge Blake granted the plaintiffs’ motion for class certification; however, on August 25, 2008, the plaintiffs withdrew their motion for class certification due to a belief that pending discovery on the merits would likely settle any dispute as to the necessity of class certification.

On August 20, 2008, Judge Blake granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to a breach of contract cause of action on the grounds that it was not a binding contract that the plaintiffs could enforce; however, the federal claims proceeded. This was reflected in the plaintiff’s fourth, and final, amended complaint on September 15, 2010, which laid out the claims as were previously described. In the following years, additional discovery and several hearings proceeded. On June 29, 2015, Judge Blake ordered that the defendants were liable for unnecessary program duplication, though this order was appealable.

Between December 13 and 27, 2017, the plaintiff’s complaints against all of the defendants were consolidated and appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Shortly thereafter, the court ordered the parties to name a Special Master to aid in the development of a plan to carry out the court’s orders relating to injunctive relief. The Court of Appeals advised the parties to settle this matter out of court, finding that further litigation would tend to be expensive and unnecessarily burdensome to the state of Maryland and its higher education institutions.

On May 6, 2021, the plaintiff and defendants jointly requested that the case be remanded to the district court in order to effectuate a settlement based on emergency legislation from Maryland’s General Assembly. On May 11, 2021, the parties agreed to a settlement in the amount of $577,000,000; the settlement agreement stipulated that the defendants would pay the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees and bring an end to de jure segregation in Maryland higher education by providing for a funding scheme and programs aimed at bringing about parity between HBCUs and TWIs. The funding is to be aimed towards expanding and developing academic programs, improving faculty, and providing scholarships; this funding cannot be used to reduce the budget for HBCUs in the future. In return, the plaintiff agreed to dismiss the case. The following day, Judge Blake approved of the settlement agreement, on the grounds that it served the public interest and brought about a resolution to the issue, and dismissed the case with prejudice.

On June 2, 2021, the plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed this case. The case is now closed.

Matthew Weiner - 11/09/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Goals (e.g., for hiring, admissions)
Monitor/Master
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Disparate Treatment
Education
Funding
School/University policies
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action State law
Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Maryland Higher Education Commission
State of Maryland
Plaintiff Description Non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting equal treatment and reducing racial discrimination in Maryland higher education.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filed 10/23/2006
Case Closing Year 2021
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
Court Docket(s)
D. Md.
06/02/2021
1:06-cv-02773-CCB
SD-MD-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
State Trial Court
10/23/2006
Complaint for Mandamus, a Declaratory Judgment and Preliminary and Permanent Injunctive Relief [ECF# 2]
SD-MD-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
01/30/2007
Order Staying and Administratively Closing Case [ECF# 19]
SD-MD-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
01/31/2008
Plaintiffs' Motion to Reopen [ECF# 29]
SD-MD-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
04/01/2008
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 44]
SD-MD-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
05/02/2008
Order for Class Certification [ECF# 47-2]
SD-MD-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
08/20/2008
Memorandum and Order Re: Contract Claim [ECF# 57]
SD-MD-0002-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
08/27/2008
Plaintiffs' Motion to Withdraw Request for Class Certification [ECF# 59]
SD-MD-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
09/15/2010
Fourth Amended Complaint [ECF# 165]
SD-MD-0002-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
06/06/2011
Memorandum [ECF# 242] (2011 WL 2217481)
SD-MD-0002-0013.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
06/29/2015
Order [ECF# 416]
SD-MD-0002-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
06/29/2015
Memorandum [ECF# 417] (2015 WL 4040425)
SD-MD-0002-0014.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
08/12/2016
[Order on Motion for Protective Order] [ECF# 485]
SD-MD-0002-0010.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
11/08/2017
Order [ECF# 642]
SD-MD-0002-0012.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Non-PACER U.S. District Court Website
D. Md.
01/08/2018
Special Master Proposal [ECF# 666]
SD-MD-0002-0011.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
02/06/2018
Memorandum [ECF# 669]
SD-MD-0002-0015.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
U.S. Court of Appeals
05/06/2021
Order [Ct. of App. ECF# 91-1 & 91-2]
SD-MD-0002-0016.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Md.
05/12/2021
Order [ECF# 686]
SD-MD-0002-0017.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Blake, Catherine C. (D. Md.) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0009 | SD-MD-0002-0010 | SD-MD-0002-0012 | SD-MD-0002-0013 | SD-MD-0002-0014 | SD-MD-0002-0015 | SD-MD-0002-0017 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Garbis, Marvin J. (D. Md.) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0002 | SD-MD-0002-0004 | SD-MD-0002-0005 | SD-MD-0002-0006 | SD-MD-0002-0007
Plaintiff's Lawyers Anderson, Devin (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Bonadies Torres, Genevieve Terese (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0016 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Brahma, Charanjit (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Brittain, John C (Texas) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Challenger, Derek Gerrod (Virginia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Clark, Bettina L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Clemons, Tyler Rose (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Cober, Michele G (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Coco, Jennifer M. (Louisiana) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Cooper, David G (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Dashiell, Robert Fulton (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0003 | SD-MD-0002-9000
DiPaolo, John K. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Dupre, Phillip R (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Fabian, Sarah B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Fitzgerald, Michael L (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Francois, Aderson B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Gardner, Darren S (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Greenbaum, Jon M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-0016 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Gutrick, Michele E (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008
Harris, Savaria B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Jefferson, Tricia G. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Johnson, Kenneth Lavon (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0001
Jones, Michael D. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-0016 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Kohlman, Raymond D (New York) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0003 | SD-MD-0002-0007 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Kosa, Erik M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Mallick, Sumit (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
McClain, Ray (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Meier, Megan Lambart (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Meyers, Edward (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Quereshi, Ajmel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Shum, Brenda L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Smith, Fletcher N Jr (South Carolina) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Spear, Alexandra (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Thompson, Henry Allen II (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Walker, Karen Natalie (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0008 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Young, Robert Lewis II (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bainbridge, Katherine (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Bellamy, Conseulo Beatric Nunez (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Casey, Meghan Kathleen (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Curran, John Joseph Jr. (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
DeRose, Jennifer Ann (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0011 | SD-MD-0002-0016 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Donahue, Anne Love (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Duval, Catherine S (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0011 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Frosh, Brian E. (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0011 | SD-MD-0002-0016
Killefer, Campbell (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Knott, Jason M (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Rao, Vivek J (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Reiser, David A. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0011 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Shelton, Alicia Leigh (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0011 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Shultz, Catherine M. (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Skolnik, Carolyn W (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Smith, Cyril Vincent III (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0011 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Snyder, Adam Dean (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0016
Sullivan, Steven M. (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-0011 | SD-MD-0002-9000
Thompson, Kenneth L (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Thompson, Craig S. (Michigan) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Wasylak, Gregory T (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Watson, DeNisha A (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Wellons, Christine M H (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000
Wherthey, Kathleen Evelyn (Maryland) show/hide docs
SD-MD-0002-9000

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