U.S. District Court Rules Against Davis-Bacon Expansion
ABC today celebrated an important decision limiting the scope of the Davis-Bacon Act issued by a U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. In a March 31 decision granting summary judgment to the District of Columbia (the District) and private developer CCDC Office LLC (CCDC), Judge Amy Berman Jackson rejected the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) unprecedented ruling that the Davis-Bacon Act can be expanded to include privately funded projects.
DOL’s Administrative Review Board (ARB) had concluded that CityCenterDC, a privately funded, occupied and maintained mix-use project of condominiums, apartments, offices, and retail stores that presently sit on a plot of land owned by the District of Columbia, constituted a “public work” within the meaning of the Davis-Bacon Act.
Judge Jackson, who was appointed to the bench by President Obama, nevertheless rejected the Administration’s argument that CityCenterDC was a public work. Judge Jackson specifically disagreed with DOL’s claim that Davis-Bacon should apply merely because of the District’s role in planning and oversight of the project or because of the project’s incidental benefits to the public. Her ruling is expected to save the District and/or the private developers an estimated $20 million in prevailing wage costs.
The ruling will also benefit ABC members in future Davis-Bacon disputes by reinforcing the precedent that privately-funded projects, including projects developed on land owned by municipalities, are not subject to Davis-Bacon wages.
ABC filed an amicus brief in the case in support of this outcome. ABC’s General Counsel, Maury Baskin, represented the plaintiff developer in the case and argued successfully to the district court.