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Hon. Myron H. Thompson

Hon. Myron H. Thompson
Hon. Myron H. Thompson

BA, Yale University
JD, Yale Law School

Judge Thompson is a graduate of Yale University (B.A 1969) and Yale Law School (JD 1972). He was nominated to a seat in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama in September 1980 by President Jimmy Carter. Judge Thompson served as Chief Judge from 1991 to 1998.

Judge Thompson served as Assistant Attorney General of Alabama from 1972 to 1974. He was the first African-American Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama, the first African-American bar examiner for the State, and was the second African-American federal judge in the State. Judge Thompson entered private practice in 1974, and served legally underserved Dothan, Alabama until 1980. He was the Founding Director and Board Chairman of the Alabama Legal Services Corporation.

Judge Thompson has contributed to the development of legal scholarship by serving as guest lecturer at Yale Law School and as a New York University Law School Scholar in Residence in 1998 and 1999.  He is currently the Eleventh Circuit’s District Judge Representative on the Judicial Conference of the United States and is chair of the District Judges Representatives to the Conference.

Judge Thompson received the 2005 Mark De Wolfe Howe Award from the Harvard Civil Rights - Civil Liberties Law Review “for his Unyielding Commitment to Advancing the Personal Freedoms and Human Dignities of the American People.”  In 2008 he received the Judge Jane M. Bolin Service Award from in recognition of his “Outstanding Dedication and Support to Yale BLSA and Contributions to the Legal Community.”   In April 2009 he received the Ernestine Sapp Justice Award from Thomas Goode Jones Law School as well as an Honoree Award from the Touro Law School BLSA.  In May 2010, Thomas Goode Jones Law School awarded him an honorary J. degree.

NOTEWORTHY RULINGS

Glassroth v. Moore, 229 F. Supp. 2d 1290 (M.D. Ala. 2002) (placement of monument engraved with the Ten Commandments in the lobby of the Alabama State Judicial Building violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment); see also McGinley v. Houston, No. CIV.A. 03-T-0895-N, 2003 WL 22150719 (M.D. Ala. Sept. 4, 2003) (removal of monument engraved with Ten Commandments in compliance with the court's order did not unconstitutionally establish the religion of _nontheistic beliefs_).

Laube v. Haley, 234 F. Supp. 2d 1227 (M.D. Ala. 2002) (held that conditions at the Tutwiler Prison for Women violate the Eighth Amendment, finding that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to the combination of overcrowding, inadequate supervision, and other problems that deprived inmates of their right to be protected from the constant threat of violence, and that these unsafe conditions were a time bomb ready to explode at any unexpected moment in the near future); see also Laube v. Campbell, 333 F. Supp. 2d 1234 (M.D. Ala. 2004) (approving settlement).

Summit Medical Associates v. Siegelman, 130 F. Supp. 2d 1307 (M.D. Ala. 2001) (Alabama statute banning so-called ‘partial-birth abortions’ violated the Fourteenth Amendment both because it failed to provide an exception for the health-of-the-mother, and because the ban encompassed the most common procedure for second-trimester abortions of nonviable fetuses, thus imposing an undue burden on the abortion rights of pregnant women).

Doe v. Pryor, 61 F. Supp. 2d 1224 (M.D. Ala. 1999) (Alabama State officials violated plaintiff's due process rights by applying State Community Notification Act--which imposed registration requirement and job and residence limitations on sexual offenders and required neighborhood notification when offender became resident--to him without notice and opportunity to be heard on whether the Act applied to his offense, which was federal and not State).

Austin v. Hopper, 15 F. Supp. 2d 1210 (M.D. Ala. 1998) (held that use of the _hitching post_in the Alabama prison system constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the eighth amendment), supplemented, 28 F. Supp.2d 1231 (M.D. Ala. 1998).

Reynolds v. Alabama Dept. of Transp., 4 F. Supp. 2d. 1092 (M.D. Ala. 1998) (held that Title VII claims against state employers based upon disparate-impact theory are not barred by the eleventh amendment).

Beasley v. Alabama State Univ., 3 F. Supp. 2d 1304 (M.D. Ala. 1998) (held that state university voluntarily waived any eleventh-amendment immunity against Title IX suit by accepting federal funds for education in the face of Title IX's clear mandate that such a waiver would occur).

United States v. Ruff, 998 F. Supp. 1351 (M.D. Ala. 1998) (granted motion for downward departure in sentencing based on defendant's vulnerability to victimization in prison).

Summit Medical Assocs., P.C. v. James, 984 F. Supp. 1404 (M.D. Ala. 1998) (in a challenge to two abortion statutes brought by abortion providers and a physician, court held that plaintiffs' claims were not barred by the eleventh amendment, nor by various jurisdictional challenges grounded on Article III and abstention doctrines).

Wilson v. Waverlee Homes, Inc., 954 F. Supp. 1530 (M.D. Ala. 1997) (first court to address whether binding arbitration clauses conflicted with Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act and were thus unenforceable). 

Dillard v. Greensboro, 946 F. Supp 946 (M.D. Ala. 1997) (set forth legal standards and criteria to be used in redistricting in light of fourth amendment challenge by white voters to majority-black districts); see also Dillard v. City of Greensboro, 956 F. Supp. 1576 (M.D. Ala. 1997) (implementing standards and criteria).

Gay Lesbian Bisexual Alliance v. Sessions, 917 F. Supp. 1548 (M.D. Ala. 1996) (held that state statute impermissibly _discriminates on the basis of viewpoint_in that it _permit[s] universities and colleges to allow themselves to be used for the presentation of all views about social, sexual, and family issues except those dealing with the subject-matter from the standpoint of those who are homosexual or are concerned about issues having to do with homosexual people._).

Shuford v. Alabama State Board of Education, 897 F. Supp. 1535 (M.D. Ala. 1995) (over objections from males, court approved settlement that required Alabama state postsecondary system to appoint more women to presidential, faculty, administrative, and other supervisory positions, through the use of aggressive recruitment and, if necessary, hiring goals).

Reynolds v. Alabama Dept. of Transp., 976 F. Supp. 1431 (M.D. Ala. 1997); 972 F. Supp. 566 (M.D. Ala. 1997); 955 F. Supp. 1428 (M.D. Ala. 1997); 955 F. Supp. 1441 (M.D. Ala. 1997); 926 F. Supp. 1077 (M.D. Ala., 1996); 926 F. Supp. 1448 (M.D. Ala. 1995); 846 F. Supp. 948 (M.D. Ala. 1994); 790 F. Supp. 1101 (M.D. Ala. 1990);  (expansive institutional litigation of claims of race discrimination in state highway department).

Hearn v. General Elec. Co., 927 F. Supp. 1486 (M.D. Ala. 1996) (extensive discussion, in sex discrimination case, of how the 1992 amendments to Title VII have modified burden of proof in Title VII cases).

Wyatt v. Poundstone, 892 F. Supp. 1410, 1423 (M.D. Ala. 1995) (based on finding that resident children at the Eufaula Adolescent Center were not safe due to pervasive and severe safety and abuse problems, court issued a preliminary injunction requiring that the Alabama officials take immediate and affirmative steps to provide for the safety and protection from abuse of all resident children at the Center, as required by court-ordered mental-illness standards); for other history of litigation involving Alabama Mental Health System, see 942 F. Supp. 518 (M.D. Ala. 1996); 941 F. Supp. 1100 (M.D. Ala. 1996); 169 F.R.D. 155 (M.D. Ala. 1995); 170  F.R.D. 189 (M.D. Ala. 1995); 871 F. Supp. 415 (M.D. Ala. 1994); 868 F. Supp. 1356 (M.D. Ala. 1994); 811 F. Supp. 1533 (M.D. Ala. 1993); 803 F. Supp. 377 (M.D. Ala. 1992); 793 F. Supp. 1058 (M.D. Ala. 1992); 781 F. Supp. 750 (M.D. Ala. 1991).

Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program v. J.S. Tarwater Developmental Center, 894 F. Supp. 424 (M.D. Ala. 1995) (held that, under Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program was entitled to records as death of individuals met requirement that physical condition prevented them from authorizing access, residents lacked legal representative, and anonymous phone call provided required _complaint_necessary to give advocacy program access).

Presley v. Etowah County Com'n, 869 F. Supp. 1555 (M.D. Ala. 1994) (on remand from Supreme Court, court held that county commission violated provision of consent decree requiring that new African-American commissioner elected pursuant to single-member district election be granted _all the rights, privileges, duties and immunities of the other commissioners, who have heretofore been elected at-large_by implementing resolutions and practices which denied new commissioner equal access to and independent responsibility for road and bridge funds and supervision, and that provision of consent decree, requiring equal division of powers for limited period of time as remedy for Voting Rights Act violation, did not itself violate Voting Rights Act).

Shuford v. Alabama State Board of Education, 846 F. Supp. 1511 (M.D. Ala. 1994) (over objections from whites, court approved settlement that required Alabama state post-secondary system to appoint more blacks to presidential, faculty, administrative, and other supervisory positions, through the use of aggressive recruitment and, if necessary, hiring goals).

Coleman v. Cannon Oil, 849 F. Supp. 1458 (M.D. Ala. 1993) (finding that in an oligopolistic gasoline retail market, evidence of consciously parallel conduct along with plus factor of anecdotal evidence sufficed to show agreements in violation of Sherman Act).

Sprint Corp. v. Evans, 818 F. Supp. 1447 (M.D. Ala. 1993) (application of state obscenity statute to interstate _800_number service was pre-empted by federal Communications Act).

Baker v. Glover, 776 F. Supp. 1511 (M.D. Ala. 1991) (holding that application of one of Alabama's obscenity statutes to bumper sticker that said _How's My Driving? Call 1-800 EAT-SHIT_violated first amendment).

Groves v. Alabama State Board of Education, 776 F. Supp. 1518 (M.D. Ala. 1991) (holding, in class action, that Alabama's requirement that college sophomores score 16 on ACT to be admitted to undergraduate teacher training programs had racially _disparate impact_in violation of Title VII).

Wyatt v. King, 773 F. Supp. 1508 (M.D. Ala. 1991)(held, in  class action, that (1) mentally ill patients involuntarily committed to state institutions for indefinite periods must receive _periodic_and _judicial_post-commitment review and (2) state must establish procedures for such reviews and release those persons who no longer meet the criteria for commitment).

Sims v. Montgomery County Commission, 766 F. Supp. 1052 (M.D. Ala. 1990) (in class action, court found widespread racial and sexual employment discrimination in Montgomery County Sheriff's Department).

Hawthorne v. Baker, 750 F. Supp. 1090 (M.D. Ala. 1990) (three-judge court) (court held that changes in selection process for members of Alabama State Democratic Executive Committee and members of 47 of 67 County Executive Committees are subject to § 5 preclearance under the Voting Rights Act).

Thornton v. Butler, 728 F. Supp. 679 (M.D. Ala. 1990) (held, in class action, that two Alabama statutes that allow service of process in unlawful detainer actions to be made under certain circumstances by leaving notice of action at tenant's _usual place of abode_violate the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment).

Richardson v. Lamar County Board of Education, 729 F. Supp. 806 (M.D. Ala. 1989) (state teacher certification test for permanent certification had racially disparate impact in violation of Title VII).

Dillard v. Baldwin County Commission, 694 F. Supp. 836 (M.D. Ala. 1988); Dillard v. Baldwin County Board of Education, 686 F. Supp. 1459 (M.D. Ala. 1988); Dillard v. Crenshaw County, 640 F. Supp. 1347 (M.D. Ala. 1986); 649 F. Supp. 289 (M.D. Ala. 1986) (holding that at-large election schemes used by 183 cities, counties, and county school boards across the State of Alabama violated § 2 of the Voting Rights Act).

Dillard v. Town of Cuba, 708 F. Supp. 1244 (M.D. Ala. 1988) (_Limited Voting_schemes approved as acceptable remedies to violations of § 2 of Voting Rights Act); Dillard v. Chilton County, 699 F. Supp. 870 (M.D. Ala. 1988) (_cumulative voting_scheme approved as acceptable remedy to § 2 violation).

Timmons v. City of Montgomery, 658 F. Supp. 1086 (M.D. Ala. 1987) (city vagrancy ordinance was unconstitutionally vague in violation of the due process clause of the fourteenth amendment).

Ward v. Wallace, 652 F. Supp. 301; 658 F. Supp 441; 667 F. Supp. 782 (M.D. Ala. 1987) (held, in class action, that Alabama Medicaid Agency's practice of deeming -- automatically including the income and other resources of an applicant's siblings and grandparents when determining the applicant's eligibility for benefits -- conflicted with Social Security Act).

Kimber v. Federal Financial Corp., 668 F. Supp. 1480 (M.D. Ala. 1987) (case, which is considered seminal opinion on Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, held that collection agency was _debt collector_within meaning of Act, that debt collector's filing of lawsuit on debt which appeared to be time barred was an unfair and unconscionable means of collecting debt, that debt collector made false, deceptive and misleading representations by threatening to sue debtor on claim collector knew was barred, and that whether collector failed to notify debtor of right to dispute validity of debt at issue was a factual question precluding summary judgment.

Jordan v. Wilson, 649 F. Supp. 1038 (M.D. Ala. 1986) (held, in class action, that City of Montgomery Police Department discriminated against women in employment); 744 F. Supp. 1074 (M.D. Ala. 1989) (held that Police Department had retaliated against those who participated in employment discrimination litigation); 744 F. Supp. 1089 (M.D. Ala. 1990) (required that Police Department promote woman to avoid adverse impact); 775 F. Supp. 1450 (M.D. Ala. 1991) (approved new permanent promotion procedures for Police Department); 788 F. Supp. 1563 (M.D. Ala. 1992) (held that female officer had been denied deputy chief position because of her sex and required that Police Department appoint her to position).

Council for Periodical Distributors Association v. Evans, 642 F. Supp. 552 (M.D. Ala. 1986) (local district attorney and his task force imposed illegal _prior restraint_on distribution and sale of sexually explicit magazines).

Birl v. Wallis, 619 F. Supp. 481 (M.D. Ala. 1985) (held that Alabama's procedures for reconfining persons conditionally released from state mental institutions were unconstitutional); 633 F. Supp. 707 (M.D. Ala. 1986) (held that resident of state mental institutions was entitled to unconditional discharge when released on trial visit and thus could not be reconfined without being given new commitment hearing).

Middleton v. Dan River, Inc., 617 F. Supp. 1206 (M.D. Ala. 1985) (held that exposure to cotton dust was compensable under Alabama's Workers Compensation Act and that former cotton textile workers were entitled to benefits for lung disease caused by exposure to dust at cotton mill).

Harris v. Graddick, 593 F. Supp. 128 (M.D. Ala. 1984); 615 F. Supp. 239 (M.D. Ala. 1985) (required, under § 2 of Voting Rights Act, that defendant class of officials for all but one county in State of Alabama appoint more blacks as poll officials for primary, general, and special elections, and that failure to appoint blacks as poll officials in number proportionate to number of blacks in county constitutes prima facie violation of court order).

Thomas v. Heckler, 598 F. Supp. 492 (M.D. Ala. 1984) (required, in class action, that Secretary of Health and Human Services comply with settled law of Eleventh Circuit and terminate disability benefits only upon evidence of _medical improvement_and that Secretary restore disability benefits terminated in Alabama under _current evidence_standard).

Paradise v. Prescott, 585 F. Supp. 72 (M.D. Ala. 1983) (required that, in light of history of racial discrimination and continuing severe racial imbalances in upper ranks, 50% of all Alabama State Troopers promoted to corporal and above must be black).

York v. Alabama State Board of Education, 581 F. Supp. 779 (M.D. Ala. 1983) (held, in class action, that local school system's use of NEA test to make employment decisions had racially disparate impact in violation of Title VII).

Ayler v. Hopper, 532 F. Supp. 198 (M.D. Ala. 1981) (first court to hold that fleeing felon statute -- authorizing use of deadly force where use was unnecessary -- was unconstitutional).