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May 12, 2012

Inconclusive court argument over lawsuit against BUILD/Forest City: can case proceed with claims against deep-pocketed developer regarding promise of union cards and union jobs?

Atlantic Yards Report

In the annals of Atlantic Yards battles, the half-hour argument in Brooklyn federal court yesterday was relatively undramatic. It concerned the lawsuit filed by seven (of 36) participants in a pre-apprenticeship training (PATP) program run by Atlantic Yards Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) signatory BUILD (Brooklyn United for Innovative Local Development) .

Nor was it conclusive, as U.S. District Judge John Gleeson gave no indication of where he was leaning on the motion to dismiss most but not all of the multiple charges, nor when he'd rule. Nor did the audience include any of the plaintiffs, who charged they were promised union cards and jobs at the Atlantic Yards site after entering the coveted program, or any of the defendants.

But the legal jousting concerned a significant issue: if the case stands as filed, it will concern damages that represent lost earnings from a union career, and paid potentially by deep-pocketed Forest City Ratner and two of its executives. And it will concern one of the big public promises behind Atlantic Yards, that the CBA would bring significant benefits to at least some people in the "community."

If the motion to dismiss is successful, the case will be reduced to an argument about smaller sums that represent unpaid wages from the training program, paid by less-established defendants BUILD and Orbin's Green Machine, the firm that conducted the training at a Staten Island site, and their officials.

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Posted by steve at May 12, 2012 5:48 PM