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C.S. McCrossan Construction, Inc. v. Minnesita Department of Transportation of Charles Zelle

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

May 6, 2013

C.S. McCrossan Construction, Inc., Plaintiff,
v.
Minnesota Department of Transportation and Charles Zelle, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Defendants, and Ames/Lunda Joint Venture, Intervenor Defendant

Robert J. Huber, Elizabeth C. Kramer, Benjamin D. Eastburn, Leonard, Street and Deinard, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota, for Plaintiff.

Erik M. Johnson, Stephen D. Melchionne, Office of the Minnesota Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota, for Defendants Minnesota Department of Transportation and Charles Zelle.

David D. Hammargren, Thomas J. Vollbrecht, Patrick J. Lee-O'Halloran, Hammargren & Meyer, P.A., Bloomington, Minnesota, for Intervenor Defendant Ames/Lunda Joint Venture.

OPINION

Page 852

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

RICHARD H. KYLE, United States District Judge.

INTRODUCTION

This action arises out of Minnesota State Project No. 8214-114 (the " Project" ) for the design and construction of the " approach" (described in more detail below) to the future bridge connecting Oak Park Heights, Minnesota, to St. Joseph, Wisconsin,

Page 853

over the St. Croix River. [1] Plaintiff C.S. McCrossan Construction, Inc. (" McCrossan" ) submitted a proposal to the Minnesota Department of Transportation (" MNDOT" ) to undertake the Project for approximately $52 million. MNDOT rejected the proposal and selected a different contractor, a joint venture between Ames Construction, Inc. and Lunda Construction Company (" Ames/Lunda" ), because McCrossan did not make good-faith efforts to meet MNDOT's goal for participation by disadvantaged business enterprises (" DBEs" ) [2] as subcontractors on the Project. McCrossan then filed the instant action, asserting that MNDOT had violated federal law and its constitutional rights by rejecting its proposal and selecting Ames/Lunda. Presently before the Court is McCrossan's Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order or Preliminary Injunction (Doc. No. 6), seeking an order enjoining performance of the contract pending resolution of its claims. For the reasons that follow, its Motion will be denied. [3]

BACKGROUND

I. The legal and regulatory framework

Congress has established a national goal that at least ten percent of federal highway funds be spent with DBEs. See Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982, Pub. L. No. 97-424, § 105(f), 96 Stat. 2097, 2100 (1983); Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, Pub. L. No. 105-178, § 1101(b)(1), 112 Stat. 107, 113 (1998). This goal was intended to remedy " decades" of " race discrimination in government highway contracting [and] barriers to the formation of minority-owned construction businesses." Sherbrooke Turf, Inc. v. Minn. Dep't of Transp., 345 F.3d 964, 970 (8th Cir. 2003).

Pursuant to these congressional directives, the United States Department of Transportation (" DOT" ) has issued regulations, found in Part 26 of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, that are intended to help achieve that goal. One such regulation requires recipients of federal highway funds to " set an overall goal for DBE [subcontractor] participation in . . . DOT-assisted contracts." 49 C.F.R. § 26.45(a)(1). Such a contract goal may not be a rigid quota. 49 C.F.R. ยง 26.43(a). Instead, the recipient must ensure that the primary (main) contractor awarded a DOT-assisted contract has either (1) met the goal for DBE ...


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