ADRIANNE FOUTS AND EDWARD BENJAMIN OBTAIN VICTORY FOR THE CITY OF PORTLAND IN RACIAL DISCRIMINATION CASE BROUGHT BY TAXI DRIVER
June 30, 2016
Attorneys Adrianne Fouts and Ed Benjamin successfully defended the City of Portland in a racial discrimination case brought by a Caucasian taxi driver in Federal Court in Portland. The plaintiff claimed that the City violated the Equal Protection Clause and interfered with his right to make and enforce contracts by virtue of a permitting system that he claimed intentionally favors African immigrant drivers. The permits at issue allow taxi drivers to await fares from arriving passengers at the Jetport and were previously available to all City-licensed taxi drivers until they were capped due to overcrowding. The plaintiff had never held a Jetport permit, never applied for one before the cap was in place, and testified during his deposition that he was unsure that he would apply for a permit even if he could.
The parties filed competing motions for summary judgment and, after oral argument, Judge John D. Levy accepted the City's argument that the plaintiff lacks standing to sue the City. Judge Levy ruled that the plaintiff, by his own deposition testimony, was equivocal about whether he would apply for a Jetport permit even if he could and found he therefore had not established that he had suffered any harm. On that basis, the Court granted the City's motion for summary judgment, denied the plaintiff's motion, and entered judgment for the City.