Police Misconduct (2007)—After filing a lawsuit in state court and surviving the defendant's effort to have the case dismissed at summary judgment, the firm negotiated a substantial (confidential) settlement for four clients who had been victimized in the crossfile of a shoot-out between law enforcement officers and the man who had taken our clients hostage.
Police Brutality (2001)—A woman was a passenger in a car suspected of criminal activity that was pursued by law enforcement officers from South Carolina. The car was pursued into North Carolina where the driver abandoned the car and fled. The woman was ordered to get out of the car, get on the ground, and put her hands behind her. She complied. The officer accidentally shot her in the neck, leaving her paralyzed. The firm filed suit in North Carolina state court. Defendants removed it to federal court and then filed an appeal from an order sending it back to state court. The case involved complicated questions regarding governmental immunity, whether North Carolina or South Carolina law controlled those questions, enforceability in South Carolina of a North Carolina verdict, and insurance coverage. In 2001, the case was settled for $912,500 because of immediate and pressing life care needs that could not be put on hold for protracted pre-trial appeals.
Hunt v. Cromartie (2001)—The United States Supreme Court concluded that the 12th District of North Carolina was not an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, concluding years of litigation that followed North Carolina's congressional redistricting plans after the 1990 Census. Adam Stein argued in the Supreme Court in Cromartie. Former partner Melvin Watt has been elected to represent the 12th District in each election since its creation in 1992.
Shaw v. Hunt (1996)—the firm represented voters who intervened in two cases to defense North Carolina's congressional redistricting plans after the 1990 Census. The plans included two districts that enabled black voters to elect candidates of their choice to Congress for the first time in the Twentieth Century. In Shaw, the Supreme Court held that the 12th Congressional District was an unconstitutional racial gerrymander, reversing the District Court which had approved the districting plan. After further redistricting, the District Court, in a new case, held on summary judgment that the new 12th District was still an unconstitutional gerrymander. The Supreme Court in Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541 (1999), reversed, remanding the case to the District Court for trial. At trial, the District Court again ruled that the 12th was unconstitutional. On appeal, in Hunt v. Cromartie II, 532 U.S. 234 (2001), the Supreme Court reversed, concluding that the 12th District was not an unconstitutional racial gerrymander. Julius Chambers argued in the Supreme Court in Shaw; Adam Stein argued in the Supreme Court in Cromartie. Former partner Melvin Watt has been elected to represent the 12th District in each election since its creation in 1992.
Bogan v. City of Gastonia (1993)—the firm secured a settlement of $98,250, in addition to mobile homes, for two homeless plaintiffs after suing officers of the Gastonia Police Department in federal court for repeatedly attacking homeless people sleeping on the streets by pouring cooking oil, coffee or water on them in the middle of the night.
Corum v. University of North Carolina (1992)—the North Carolina Supreme Court recognized a direct cause of action under the North Carolina Constitution for violations of rights protected by the state constitution. In Corum, the private right of action sought by the firm's client was for a violation of free speech. The Court also adopted a standard for qualified immunity defenses in cases under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 which allows plaintiffs to obtain a jury trial where they have pointed to specific evidence that the official's actions were improperly motivated.
West v. Atkins (1988)—the United States Supreme reversed the en banc Fourth Circuit and held that a doctor under contract with the State to provide part time medical services to prisoners acts "under color of state law" and thus may be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating a prisoner's constitutional rights. The Court prevented the State from denying prisoners access to federal courts when the State contracts out its authority and its constitutional obligation to provided medical care. The Supreme Court also repudiated the doctrine fashioned by the Court of Appeals that professionals do not act under color of state law when acting within their professional capacities. Adam Stein argued the case in the Supreme Court.
Thornburg v. Gingles (1986)—the plaintiff challenged the 1981 redrawing of state legislative districts on the ground that they inhibited black political success. In an important interpretation of the new Voting Rights Act of 1982, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff, upholding the district court's decision that the districts be redrawn to assue more black-majority districts. Julius Chambers argued the case on behalf of the plaintiff.
Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bd. of Educ. (1971)—black parents brought suit against the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education's maintenance of a racially segregated, dual public school system. After a seven-year court battle involving multiple proceedings, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the district court's decision ordering the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School Board to implement a desegregation plan which included the use of extensive busing. This case paved the way for court-ordered busing throughout the United States where necessary for effective desegregation in districts with illegally segregated schools. Julius Chambers argued the case in the Supreme Court.