Institutional Reform


Institutional reform is the chief means by which private plaintiffs can use the courts to cure unlawful state and federal institutional practices. Girard Sharp is committed to ensuring that governments uphold the law and remain accountable to their constituents. Illustrative cases include:

  • Girard Sharp lawyers and Guam-based co-counsel challenged the government of Guam’s longstanding practice of indefinitely withholding income tax refunds due to Guam taxpayers, while, at the same time, Guam officials made refund payments to select individuals through a program plagued by favoritism. We secured a permanent injunction reforming the government’s administration of tax refunds. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s orders, rejecting Guam’s sovereign immunity and subject matter jurisdiction arguments.
  • Girard Sharp lawyers represented a class of San Francisco public school students of Chinese descent in a civil rights action to terminate ethnic and racial quotas imposed under an earlier desegregation consent decree. On the first day of trial, the parties announced a settlement under which the San Francisco Unified School District agreed to abandon its quota system and mandatory ethnic self-identification in public school registration. The settlement allowed the district to retain desegregation funding for several more years.

If you believe you have been harmed by unlawful institutional practices, please speak with one of our lawyers.

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