Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Haven community group asks city to enforce CBA

Representatives from Communities Organized for Resonsible Development (CORD) brought a petition to the mayor's office this week asking the city to enforce the CBA involving Yale's Smilow Cancer Center. Specifically, CORD wants the city to confirm whether Yale has lived up to its local hiring promise. The group's leaders say that Yale representatives have refused to meet with them.

Now, Yale is supposed to provide annual reports on compliance with the CBA's jobs provisions. But the CBA is contained in the development agreement made between Yale and the city, and since CORD isn't a party it can't force Yale to comply directly. Or could it? The development agreement doesn't expressly disclaim the existence of third party beneficiaries, and it acknowledges that certain promises made by Yale and the city were intended to benefit the community.

The third party beneficiary issue is addressed in a recent law review article by Patience A. Crowder, More Than Merely Incidental: Third-Party Beneficiary Rights in Urban Redevelopment Contracts, 17 Geo. J. Poverty Law & Pol'y 287 (2010) (available to download here, for a small fee). Crowder contends that community residents are indeed third party beneficiaries to urban redevelopment contracts, and the article gives an excellent overview of the inconsistent and often complicated law of third party beneficiaries. While Crowder acknowledges that establishing third party beneficiary status for urban community members may be difficult, CORD's case is strengthened because the development agreement specifically states that Yale agreed to "certain commitments to the City and the community as requested by the City[.]"

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