OPELIKA, Ala. (CN) - Alabama state troopers refuse to give a towing company any work because it's owned by a black man, the businessman claims in Federal Court.
Morris Lewis and his company Lewis Transportation sued Alabama Department of Public Safety Director Hugh McCall and four of his officials on constitutional grounds on Feb. 12.
Alabama state troopers, as members of the Alabama Public Safety Department are known, are the "sole assignors" of tow truck activities in the Alabama. Lewis claims that they refused to call him when he was next on the list for a job, and then removed his name completely from the list.
It's not Lewis's first go-round with the state troopers. He says he filed a discrimination claim against Alabama in 1991 when the state troopers refused to put his name on the rotation list for towing duties. He claims that a judge found the Department of Public Safety "liable of discriminatory conduct in tow truck assignments under color of state law."
Since then, Lewis says, he has complained repeatedly about discriminatory assignments "which created economic damage to his business" but he was "met with ambivalence."
He claims that white troopers moved him down the towing list "without any reason or procedural due process" and took him off the list during an appeals process for the initial removal, in violation of their own regulations.
He claims he has lost more than $1.3 million in business in the past three years because of the discrimination.
He seeks $2 million in statutory and compensatory damages.
He is represented by Charles Brooks of Hueytown.
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