DBE Appeal Case Brief: MCCREA LAND SURVEYING, INC.; Ref No.: 14-0093

MCCREA LAND SURVEYING, INC.; Ref No.: 14-0093
July 31, 2015

Brief Synopsis of the Case:

In December 2013, the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) denied a firm’s DBE application for several reasons. However, INDOT failed to properly articulate its reasons for denial. Instead, it appears INDOT ignored evidence provided as part of the application, failed to seek clarification regarding its concerns during the firm’s on-site visit and the period leading up to the denial letter and failed to articulate how it reached its decisions. Rather than reversing INDOT’s decision the DOT remanded the case back to INDOT urging the agency to drop at least one ground for denial and to articulate it reasons for the other grounds.

Holding:

Essentially, the DOT held that INDOT could not deny the firm’s application without providing a full explanation and analysis based on evidence contained in the record.

Analysis:

This case highlights the scrutiny that firms face when a disadvantaged individual acquires a company from a non-disadvantaged individual who maintains a relationship with the firm. Here, the disadvantaged owner appears to have met his burden of proving that the transfer of ownership was for reasons other than obtaining DBE certification and the disadvantaged individual actually controls the firm. Its surprising that DOT did not reverse INDOT’s decision outright considering the disadvantaged owner waited nearly two years for the appeal decision.