Haseeb Chishty was born in 1973 healthy and normal. However, when Haseeb was ten months old he developed a severe case of pneumonia that resulted in his becoming mentally disabled. At age four, he finally learned to walk and at age seven, he finally learned to speak.
Haseeb grew up severely mentally challenged but physically healthy. He attended American State-operated schools for the disabled to enhance his mechanical and cognitive skills. It was during his stay at the Denton State School in Denton, TX back in 2002 when Haseeb’s story turns into a human tragedy.
While in the care of the Denton State School, a school employee high on drugs beat Haseeb almost to death causing severe internal bleeding and further mental disability. Haseeb was not taken to the hospital until the following day when his mother came to visit him. By then he was in such a weakened condition, he almost died in the emergency room. Haseeb is now permanently paralyzed from his head down.
The Muslim Legal Fund of America worked tirelessly with the Chishty family to secure justice regarding Haseeb’s tragedy. The Denton State School first tried to claim that Haseeb's injuries were self inflicted claiming their employee did nothing wrong. Eventually, under investigation and public scrutiny, the employee confessed, was tried, convicted and sentenced to jail.
However, when the Chishty family sought damages from the State school for the damages to Haseeb, the State school claimed "sovereign immunity" which believed they were entitled to under Texas state law. The State school won in court.
The only recourse after the trial for Haseeb to secure justice would be for the Chishty family to get the State of Texas to pass a bill giving them the right to sue the State of Texas.
Special permission, by the state of Texas to sue the state of Texas.
So, that is exactly what MLFA helped the Chishty family do. During this struggle, MLFA helped to organize and promote advocacy events for justice to encourage community members to proactively engage in the political process to demand justice on Haseeb's behalf. Eventually, the state legislature of Texas passed a bill, giving Haseeb the right to sue the State of Texas. Then, MLFA helped the Chishty family secure an attorney to sue the state of Texas for the damages to Haseeb. The state of Texas eventually settled the case in favor of Haseeb thus securing justice.
I have known this non-profit for a few months. I have visited their facility in Richardson, Texas and met the highly motivated volunteers and staff. I believe that their work in fundamental civil rights as it relates to federal legal representation is in the right direction as it appears and have a positive impact on the community. I wish them good luck in their endeavors. Thank you.