LOS ANGELES – A 32-year-old African-American nurse is suing Denny’s Inc. for unspecified damages claiming that a waitress called her a “black bitch” after she attempted to pay for her meal with a large bill.
Plaintiff April Hines says that on September 30, 2015 she was a part of a group dining at a Denny’s restaurant located in Pasadena, Calif. when the incident happened.
According to the complaint filed last week in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Ms. Hines states that she was generally ignored by her party’s assigned waitress while the non-blacks in her group were treated properly. At the end of her meal when she attempted to pay with a large bill the waitress, who was white, refused to accept her payment. The waitress told Ms. Hines that she would have to wait until she had negotiated payments from other guests before calling her a “black bitch.” The waitress also told the non-black guests in Ms. Hines party that she couldn’t understand why they associated with the plaintiff.
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The situation escalated when the waitress used racially motivated hate speech towards the plaintiff before calling the police to arrest her. Upon further investigation, the police declined to arrest Ms. Hines.
“I felt that everything that took place on September 30 was unnecessary,” said plaintiff April Hines. “I really feel that I was discriminated against due to my race. I was with ten other co-workers. I left there embarrassed and hurt and didn’t understand why all of that happened. I don’t want to see anyone else treated like that. It went from me not having a smaller bill to pay for my meal to her calling the police on me. That’s not right.”
A lawsuit filed in August 2014 by an African-American couple alleged the manager of a Los Angeles Denny’s made them prepay for their meals because they were black.
In 1994, Denny’s agreed to pay more than $54 million to settle lawsuits filed by thousands of black customers who had been refused service or been forced to wait longer or pay more than white guests.
Jonathon Kaplan of the Los Angeles based law firm, Kaplan Weiss LLP which represents Ms. Hines, said, “This is just another outrageous incident of discrimination perpetrated by Denny’s and its employees upon African-American customers. Until a jury makes Denny’s pay, they will continue to treat people this way.”
Hines’ lawsuit seeks damages for civil rights violations, negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.