In case anyone didn’t already know it, a federal court jury sent the message loud and clear yesterday that equal opportunity and anti-discrimination remain the law in government contracting – and protect white-owned corporations as well as minorities against race discrimination.
In Security and Data Technologies, Inc. v. the School District of Philadelphia et al. our team at Flaster Greenberg represented the company, Security and Data Technologies (“SDT”). The evidence showed that the former Superintendent of the School District, Arlene Ackerman, had de-selected SDT for a $7.5 million security camera contract and selected a smaller, less qualified minority-owned company because she was “sick of” contracts going to white-owned companies and wanted more School District business to go to minority-owned companies, whose owners “look like me.”
As a result of reassigning the contract based on race, the “emergency” project was delayed by more than six months.
Testimony at trial established that the defendants’ decision-making violated the School District’s Anti-Discrimination Policy, its procurement procedures, and federal civil rights law which prohibits race discrimination in the making and enforcement of contracts. Still, the case required four years of litigation and a week of trial for SDT to obtain justice.
A federal jury yesterday returned a $2.35 million verdict in favor of SDT and against the School District and Ackerman, awarding SDT its estimated lost profits on the contract. The case has been widely reported in the mainstream media across the United States and even in Great Britain, including The Associated Press, The Daily Mail UKandfront page placement in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Obviously, it was a great result for our client. Moreover, we feel it was a fair and just result, upholding the law of equal opportunity for all regardless of race.
Meet the Team:
Michael D. Homans served as lead counsel on this case and is chair of Flaster Greenberg’s Litigation Department where he practices civil rights, labor and employment law, concentrating on the litigation of workplace disputes and pre-litigation advice to employers and employees. He represents a wide range of companies, nonprofit organizations, independent schools, and individuals throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. He serves as lead counsel in cases concerning wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, non-compete agreements, wage payment and overtime, family and medical leave, and breach of contract. Mr. Homans has obtained favorable judgments and verdicts for his clients in trial and appellate courts, administrative agencies, and through alternative dispute resolution. Mr. Homans also drafts and reviews employee handbooks, severance agreements, policies, and contracts.
Melissa K. Hazellserved as co-counsel on this case and is a member of Flaster Greenberg’s Litigation Department. She focuses her practice on commercial litigation, insurance coverage, and labor and employment. Ms. Hazell currently represents corporate policyholders seeking coverage for various types of claims, and businesses and individuals involved in employment and complex business disputes.