$15 Million Awarded to Remedy Contract Breach Due to Racial Discrimination

in News

FEBRUARY 2009; ALEXANDRIA VIRGINIA – A federal jury ordered DynCorp
International, a government contractor, to pay more than $15 million to a former minorityowned
subcontractor, Worldwide Network Services (WWNS). With demonstrative
exhibits, an extensive database of trial exhibits, and video clips prepared and displayed
in the courtroom by Digital Evidence Group, WWNS’s attorneys from Akin Gump
persuaded the jury that DynCorp breached its contract and racially discriminated against
In 1993, WWNS was founded and operated by two African Americans as a small shop
providing technology and telecommunications services to area businesses. In 2003, it
became a subcontractor to DynCorp, and its revenue grew from $500,000 to $50 million
a year.
WWNS filed suit in October 2006, after DynCorp ended a relationship with it to provide
services in Iraq and Afghanistan. In WWNS’s place, DynCorp selected a company not
owned by minorities and the two then hired many of WWNS’s employees.
WWNS said it was left with millions of dollars in outstanding invoices and nearly
collapsed in the aftermath. WWNS also alleged that DynCorp forced the company off the
contract as part of a pattern of racial discrimination, listing several examples, including
the use of a slur to describe a WWNS employee and an October 2006 party hosted by
one of DynCorp’s top executives shortly after the DynCorp/WWNS relationship had
soured. At the party, a mocking letter purporting to be from the black president of WWNS
was read in Ebonics, and a T-shirt was distributed with the imprint “I brought down
WWNS and all I got was this lousy T-shirt”. WWNS claimed its employees were
increasingly subjected to racial epithets, banned from meetings and in some cases
forced to leave Iraq. WWNS also claimed DynCorp used WWNS’s status as a small,
minority-owned firm to help win the lucrative government contracts.
DynCorp, however, said a contract with WWNS was not renewed because of the
subcontractor’s poor performance.
The jury awarded WWNS $5 million plus interest in compensatory damages and $10
million in punitive damages. Based on an earlier ruling, Judge Gerald Lee had already
ordered DynCorp to pay $2 million.