Equal Protection Project Files Amicus Curiae Brief Opposing Progressive Insurance Blacks-Only Grant Program

Case Particulars


U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio

Date Filed

March 28, 2024

Docket No.


Case Status

Amicus Brief Supporting Plaintiffs Filed; Case dismissed May 21, 2024; Notice of Appeal to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit filed

Case Overview

In August of 2023 Freedom Truck Dispatch LLC and its owner Nathan Roberts, who is White, sued Progressive Insurance, with the help of America First Legal, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland, alleging that Progressive “engages in patently unlawful racial discrimination by offering a $25,000 ‘grant’ to 10 ‘Black-owned small businesses to use toward the purchase of a commercial vehicle,'” while not permitting non-black-owned small businesses to even apply for the grant, in violation of  42 U.S. Code § 1981. That federal statute makes racially discriminatory contracting unlawful.


Progressive filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that it had a “free speech” right to provide money to whoever it wanted to, and that Plaintiffs had not alleged that they were harmed by Progressive’s program and so lacked standing to sue. Progressive was supported in that motion by the Southern Poverty Law Center, who argued in an amicus curiae, or “friend of the court,” brief, that Plaintiffs could not use 42 U.S.C. § 1981 because that statute could only be used to help Black citizens, not White persons.


After Plaintiffs filed their brief opposing Progressive’s Motion to Dismiss, EPP filed its own amicus curiae brief supporting Plaintiffs, arguing that (i) a ruling in Progressive’s favor on the “free speech” issue would gut existing anti-discrimination laws, (ii) 42 U.S.C. § 1981, per binding United States Supreme Court precedent, applies equally to all citizens of any race, and (iii) Plaintiffs were per se harmed by Progressive’s racially discriminatory program.


After briefing on Progressive’s Motion to Dismiss was complete, the Court granted Progressive’s Motion to Dismiss on May 21, 2024. Two days later Plaintiffs filed a Notice of Appeal.


EPP expects that it will file an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which covers Ohio and several other Midwest states, supporting Plaintiffs, now Appellants, following the filing of their Appeal Brief sometime in the summer of 2024.