Braille Monitor April-May 1985
In the Spring of 1984 (see May, 1984, Braille Monitor) three lawsuits were filed against Joseph O'Hara and other Missouri officials in the Federal District Court in Missouri. The first of the lawsuits (see Braille Monitor, December, 1984) was successfully settled last October. The second lawsuit (the one principally involving Tom Stevens) has now also been successfully concluded. The state of Missouri has apologized to the Federation and is paying $10,000 toward the expenses of our 1985 national convention. This is a far cry from the boasts of a year ago when desks were being searched and so-called investigations were being conducted. The third lawsuit (the Dottie Neely case) is very much alive, and it is unlikely that we will agree to any settlement before trial. The principal issues involved in the first two cases are still before the court in the Neely case, and they should be definitively resolved. Perhaps the Missouri officials have learned their lesson; perhaps their apology is even sincere and they truly regret their gestapo tactics; but an example is needed for future would-be violators of the law and the rights of the blind. If we had failed to take up the challenge in Missouri, the dignity and self-respect of every blind person in the nation would have been to some degree diminished, and we would have been untrue to our heritage and trust:
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
NICHOLAS WHITNEY, et. al.,
JOSEPH J. O'HARA, et. al.,
Civil No. 84-0660(C)(3)
Filed February 21, 1985
1. In order to settle the differences in the above-entitled case, Defendants state that they conducted an investigation of the Missouri Bureau for the Blind and its operations. The National Federation of the Blind was not a target of this investigation, and Defendants regret any invasion of interests in associating with the National Federation of the Blind because such a result was never intended. Therefore, Defendants apologize for any injury suffered by the National Federation of the Blind as a result of the investigation of the Bureau for the Blind.
2. Defendants agree to pay the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00) to the National Federation of the Blind for the purpose of co-sponsoring the 1985 national convention of the National Federation of the Blind.
3. Defendants agree to pay to Charles T. Stevens two month's salary as separation pay.
4. Defendants agree to place the resignation of Charles T. Stevens in his personnel file effective April 6, 1985, and to remove from his personnel file all documents which refer to, or may have been the basis for, dismissal or disciplinary action.
5. In consideration of the foregoing, Plaintiffs and the National Federation of the Blind, Inc., a non-profit corporation organized under the laws of the District of Columbia, release and hold harmless the Defendants from any action arising out of the subject matter of this litigation.
6. Each Party shall bear its own costs and attorney's fees in this action.
7. This Consent Degree shall not be offered as an admission in any present or subsequent court proceeding.
William L. Hungate, Judge
Done this 21st day of February, 1985
Marc Maurer, Esquire
Frederic S. Le Clercq, Esquire
Counsel for Plaintiffs
Done this 9th day of February, 1985
Robert Presson, Esquire
Counsel for Defendants
Done this 13th day of February, 1985