Civil Rights

Civil Rights


Butler Snow’s civil rights attorneys understand both sides of civil rights law. As advocates, we were successfully involved in the well-known $815 million class action lawsuit known as the Black Farmers Case. And we recently obtained a $22 million verdict, alleging freedom of speech violations, for a vocal critic of a government-subsidized health plan, after the third-party administrator of the plan, in a retaliatory move, prevented a health professional from treating patients who were served by the plan.

Exceptional defense experience

While we have been involved as an advocate, our civil rights team’s deepest strengths lie on the defense side of this highly sensitive area of the law. Few law firms can match the practical experience that we have accumulated in civil rights defense matters. For example, for the last 15 years, we have conducted investigations for, and litigated on behalf of a client that provides correctional services to local, state, and federal governments. During this relationship, we have developed an extraordinary command of the intricacies of our client’s business, its employees, and the many complexities of civil rights defense work.

Additionally, our attorneys have unique backgrounds that are specifically related to this area of law. For example, one of our attorneys, Stephen C. Parker, has prosecuted and litigated more than 100 civil rights cases as the Chief of the Civil Rights Unit for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Tennessee He was also appointed to the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Unit. Stephen is one of a few former DOJ civil rights experts in private practice, which helps provide greater insights for clients and added jury appeal, when needed. Additionally, as a law enforcement patterns and practice expert, he regularly serves as an expert witness for litigators in matter involving excessive force and stop, search and seizure.

Butler Snow’s civil rights team represents companies, government agencies and individuals in a wide variety of work. In addition, we act as investigators and consultants for both private and public entities.

Risk management

Due to the depth of our civil rights team’s experience, we also provide forward-thinking risk management advice and consultation to agencies and companies, including insurance companies and public agencies that often are responsible parties in these matters. Our goal is to help lower future litigation costs and guard against the potential for large judgments through appropriate preparatory actions.

Cost effective results

Our firm’s philosophy is one of teamwork and rewarding collaborative effort. This works well for our clients because we eliminate duplicative efforts, and we can quickly provide our clients with access to the expert who is best equipped to handle any specific matter—including matters that extend beyond civil rights law.


  • Handle widely varied civil rights matters involving inmates at private prison facilities for more than 15 years.
  • Received a $22 million judgment for a health professional who faced retaliatory action by a third-party administrator of a government-subsidized health plan after the professional was critical of the third-party administrator and its practices.
  • One of our civil rights attorneys currently is serving as an expert on the Federal Court Monitoring Team for the Baltimore Police Department.
  • Butler Snow also was called on to help in the DOJ investigations of the New Orleans Police Department; the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department; the St. Evangeline Parrish Sheriff’s Department; and the Ville Platte, Louisiana, Police Department.