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Contractors Ass'n of Eastern Pennsylvania, Inc. v. City of Philadelphia

filed: September 30, 1991.

CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION OF EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA, INC., GENERAL BUILDING CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION, INC., ASSOCIATED MASTER PAINTERS & DECORATORS OF PHILADELPHIA, INC., EMPLOYING BRICK LAYERS ASSOCIATION OF DELAWARE VALLEY, INC., INTERIOR FINISH CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION, INC., MECHANICAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION OF EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA, INC., ROOFING AND SHEET METAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION, INC., SUB-CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION OF DELAWARE VALLEY, INC., NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS ASSOCIATION, INC.
v.
CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, ELIZABETH REVEAL, AS DIRECTOR OF FINANCE FOR THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, CURTIS JONES, JR., AS DIRECTOR OF THE MINORITY BUSINESS ENTERPRISE COUNCIL; UNITED MINORITY ENTERPRISE ASSOCIATES, INC., INTERVENING DEFENDANT; THE CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, APPELLANT AT NO. 90-1295; UNITED MINORITY ENTERPRISE ASSOCIATES, INC., APPELLANT AT NO. 90-1296



On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; (D.C. Civil Action No. 89-02737).

Greenberg, Hutchinson, and A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.,*fn* Circuit Judges. A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr., Circuit Judge, concurring in judgment.

Author: Hutchinson

Opinion OF THE COURT

HUTCHINSON, Circuit Judge

The City of Philadelphia (City) and United Minority Enterprise Associates, Incorporated (Minority Associates) appeal an order of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania granting appellee Contractors Association of Eastern Pennsylvania, Incorporated, and other trade associations with members that do business in the construction industry in the Philadelphia metropolitan region (collectively "Contractors"),*fn1 summary judgment on Contractors' claim that Chapter 17-500 of the Philadelphia Code (Ordinance), Philadelphia's public contract set-aside law, violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. See Contractors Ass'n of E. Pa., Inc. v. City of Phila., 735 F. Supp. 1274 (E.D. Pa. 1990). Among other contentions, Minority Associates argues that the district court erred by granting the Contractors' motion without giving Minority Associates a chance to pursue additional discovery on the existence of discrimination in the Philadelphia construction market that could justify the various set-asides in the Ordinance. Minority Associates' opposition to Contractors' motion for summary judgment was accompanied by a Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(f) affidavit. The affidavit stated that Minority Associates needed time to undertake further discovery. We think Minority Associates should have been given a reasonable opportunity for further discovery and will therefore vacate the district court's order granting Contractors' summary judgment and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I.

This appeal concerns claims Contractors made in an amended complaint dated May 19, 1989 that was filed in the district court in their suit to strike down Chapter 17-500 of the Philadelphia City Code and the regulations promulgated under that Ordinance as contrary to the United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions and federal and state statutes guaranteeing them, inter alia, equal protection of the laws. The City filed an answer as did Minority Associates, an intervening defendant. On October 11, 1989, the City moved for judgment on the pleadings or, alternately, summary judgment on the grounds that Contractors lacked standing to sue and did not state a cause of action under the Equal Protection Clause, 42 U.S.C.A. § 1983 (West 1981) and 42 U.S.C.A. § 1981 (West 1981). The City also moved for judgment on the pleadings on the state law claims alleging that if the federal claims were dismissed the court would lack pendent jurisdiction. The Contractors replied and filed a cross-motion for summary judgment on its Equal Protection Clause and section 1983 claims.

The City opposed Contractors' cross-motion for summary judgment arguing mainly that genuine issues of fact remained to be resolved. Minority Associates joined the City's opposition and asked for a continuance so that discovery could be completed before the Contractors' motion was ruled on.

On April 5, 1990, the district court granted Contractors' cross-motion, denied the City's motion, declared the minority-, female- and handicapped-owned business enterprise set-aside programs set forth in the Ordinance and the implementing regulations unconstitutional and permanently enjoined the City from enforcing or implementing the Ordinance or the regulations. The City filed its notice of appeal on April 10, 1990, and Minority Associates filed its notice of appeal on April 12, 1990.*fn2

II.

The district court had subject matter jurisdiction over the section 1983 claim that the Ordinance violated Contractors' right to equal protection under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1331 (West Supp. 1991) and 28 U.S.C.A. § 1343(a)(3) & (4) (West Supp. 1991). We have appellate jurisdiction over the City's and Minority Associates' appeals from the district court's final order under 28 U.S.C.A. § 1291 (West Supp. 1991).

Our review of the district court's order denying the City's motion for summary judgment on standing and its order granting Contractors' motion for summary judgment on the merits is plenary. See Country Floors, Inc. v. A Partnership Composed of Gepner & Ford, 930 F.2d 1056, 1060, 18 U.S.P.Q.2D (BNA) 1577 (3d Cir. 1991). We review the district court's refusal to postpone action on the Contractors' motion pending further discovery by Minority Associates for abuse of discretion. See Lunderstadt v. Colafella, 885 F.2d 66, 71-72 (3d Cir. 1989). If information concerning the facts to be discovered is solely in the possession of the movant, however, "a motion for continuance of a motion for summary judgment for purposes of discovery should [then] ordinarily be granted almost as a matter of course." Ward v. United States, 471 F.2d 667, 670 (3d Cir. 1973) (citations omitted). The Ward rationale would not seem to apply, however, when the party seeking discovery has the information it seeks in its own possession or can get it from a source other than the movant.

III.

The Ordinance in question is entitled "Goals For The Participation Of Minority, Female And Handicapped Owned Businesses In City Contracts." II Appendix (App.) at 310. Through various means, the Ordinance seeks to increase the number of "Disadvantaged Business Enterprises" owned by minorities, women or handicapped persons who are awarded city contracts. A Disadvantaged Business Enterprise is any small business "which is at least 51 percent (51%) owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals."*fn3 Id. at 311. The Ordinance creates an agency called the Minority Business Enterprise Council (the agency). The agency is charged with the administration of the Ordinance, which authorizes the agency to presume that all minorities, women and handicapped persons are socially and economically disadvantaged persons. Once a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise receives contract work of more than $5,000,000.00 from the City under the Ordinance, that business is rebuttably presumed not to be disadvantaged. The Ordinance sets "goals" of fifteen-percent participation in city contracts for minority-owned businesses, ten percent for female-owned businesses and two percent for handicapped-owned businesses. Finally, the Ordinance contains provisions that allow the agency to waive its set-aside requirements in certain situations.

A.

We first address the City's standing claim because it goes to the subject matter jurisdiction of the district court. See Metropolitan Wash. Airports Auth. v. Citizens for the Abatement of Aircraft Noise, Inc., 115 L. Ed. 2d 236, 111 S. Ct. 2298, 2306 & n. 13 (1991) (Court first addressed standing and ripeness claims that could impair the Court's power to hear the case). The City contends that the Contractors lack standing for two reasons. First, the City says the Contractors did not establish that they suffered an injury-in-fact. Second, the City maintains that the ...


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