Economic Empowerment

With access to federal contracts at stake for minority and women-owned businesses, the Lawyers’ Committee scored a major victory for civil rights in the case of Associated General Contractors, San Diego Chapter v. Caltrans. In April 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the California Department of Transportation’s outreach program to promote fairness and equity in its federal contracting, securing a major legal victory in favor of disadvantaged business programs to ensure equal contracting opportunities for minority-owned businesses. The group challenging Caltrans’ program decided not to seek review in the United States Supreme Court, rendering the appellate decision final.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IN MINORITY CONTRACTING – March 2011

A U.S. District Court Judge granted our motion on March 23 and ruled that the California Department of Transportation’s equal opportunity program for contracting businesses can continue its mission to ensure that minority and women-owned businesses have equal ground to compete for federal stimulus funds and other federal contracts. As a result of Lawyers’ Committee’s ongoing advocacy, Caltrans formally re-implemented race- and gender-conscious contracting procedures that give minority and women-owned small businesses a fair shot at competing for contracts; however, a lawsuit filed in 2009 by the Associated General Contractors of San Diego threatened to undermine that work. Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Lawyers’ Committee coordinated client groups to intervene in the case and assembled a litigation team, comprised of a range of nonprofit partners, and pro bono assistance from Bingham McCutchen LLP. Plaintiff has appealed the District Court’s ruling in our favor, so we will now move to defending the program in the Ninth Circuit.

If you are minority business owner concerned about contracting equity, please contact Sushil Jacob at sjacob@lccrsf.org. Please note that we generally do not handle individual cases, but focus instead on class actions or other matters seeking systemic reform.

Equity in Access to Municipal Services

In a case challenging California’s High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) to open up its closed contracting system that excluded small minority-owned businesses, we successfully petitioned the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) in September 2011 to order reforms in CHSRA’s contracting practices in a manner that ensures fair and equitable contracting opportunities for all in what is the largest public works project in the nation.

If you are minority business owner concerned about contracting equity, please contact Sushil Jacob at sjacob@lccrsf.org. Please note that we generally do not handle individual cases, but focus instead on class actions or other matters seeking systemic reform.