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Levy v. Louisiana

Significance, The Levy Family, An Important Reversal: Illegitimate Children As Persons, An Important Reversal


Adolph J. Levy


State of Louisiana

Appellant's Claim

That a Louisiana law denying illegitimate children the right to recover damages for their mother's wrongful death violates the constitutional guarantee of Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses under the Fourteenth Amendment.

Chief Lawyer for Appellant

Norman Dorsen

Chief Lawyer for Appellee

William A. Porteous III

Justices for the Court

William J. Brennan, Jr., William O. Douglas (writing for the Court), Abe Fortas, Thurgood Marshall, Earl Warren, Byron R. White

Justices Dissenting

Hugo Lafayette Black, John Marshall Harlan II, Potter Stewart


Washington D.C.

Date of Decision

20 May 1968


The Court ruled in favor of Levy and overturned two lower court decisions by finding that he has the right to claim for wrongful death damages.

Related Cases

  • Glona v. American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Co., 391 U.S. 68 (1968).
  • Labine v. Vincent, 401 U.S. 532 (1971).
  • Weber v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 406 U.S. 164 (1972).
  • Mathews v. Lucas, 427 U.S. 495 (1976).


West's Encyclopedia of American Law, Vol. 3. Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN: West Publishing, 1998.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1963 to 1972