New Lawsuit Against Denny’s Alleges Waitress Called Woman ‘Black Bitch’

NBC 4 Los Angeles 3/15/2016

I guess the good folks at Denny’s have not learned their lesson.

When last we spoke of Denny’s I detailed how a Los Angeles Denny’s in Koreatown had forced a Black couple to prepay for their food.

Now there’s a new lawsuit against the chain coming out of a Pasadena Denny’s where a Black woman was called a ‘Black bitch’ after trying to pay for her meal with a large bill.  I’m not kidding and happy Women’s History Month to you too.

April Hines

April Hines

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.

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.”

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.

But Denny’s isn’t the only restaurant chain with questionable behavior involving African-American patrons.

Recently, two diners at a Joe’s Crab Shack in Roseville, Minnesota said they were shocked to discover a photograph of a black man they say was being lynched embedded in their table.  The chain has since apologized.


The Court of Public Opinion

  • InkedFive0

    OH NO SHE DIDNT! Jasmyne!!! Where have you been the last few weeks?? I’ve been missing the gossip!!!

  • Lol, I have a life and a career. Every now and then I need to attend to it. I know many people think all I do is blog about the LAPD 24/7, but nah. I’ve got stuff in pipes. Watch for it. It’s coming 🙂

  • cutty sark

    Is there evidence of other incidents involving differential or discriminatory treatment of african-american patrons at this Denny’s location?

    Is there evidence that a manager(s) at this Denny’s location was aware of such discriminatory treatment and took no measures or took insufficient measures to discipline, retrain or remove the offensive employee?

    If there is a pattern and practice of such legally prohibited discriminatory treatment, then we can begin to assess responsibility and liability to the owners/managers of this Denny’s location only.
    Before we can take the next step to blame the Denny’s corporation, we need to determine if they are aware of the problem. If they aren’t aware, they still may bear responsibility if they failed to put in place reasonable and sufficient management practices to identify, flag and correct prohibited discriminatory conduct by employee(s) at an individual Denny’s location.

    The fact that Denny’s corporation was caught and punished for bad practices in the past does not support a conclusion they remain unrepentant and unreformed based solely on this single alleged incident in Pasadena.

    That would be akin to asking the public to practice a form of stereotyping and automatic built-in bias against the business organization named Denny’s.

    Before we rush in to condemn the entire business organization, let’s allocate some reasonable amount of assumption that the corporate executives of Denny’s would prefer $54 million available from which to draw their bonuses rather than flush it away in fines, penalties and legal settlements.

    At this point in the game, we are looking at what appears as a one-off bad incident involving one employee. As long as management takes appropriate steps to discipline, retrain or remove the offender and demonstrate that such conduct by any employee is unacceptable then we can be fairly satisfied that there is not a wider problem.
    If we see Denny’s reach out to the agrieved patron, sincerely acknowledge the pain caused by such an incident and offer commensurate resources to compensate and assist the healing process – then we can move on to focus on social problems occuring somewhere outside and beyond the Denny’s lunch counter.

    But before we stand up to leave, we also have a responsibility to check the bill. We make sure we got the right ticket and the right items were charged and added.
    If the total seems not correct, then we turn our focus to reviewing each item to find the error.

    We live in a region reknowned for its abundance of attorneys, with multitudes honorably practicing across the spectrum of legal specialization.

    Regretably, this reputation includes no shortage of attorneys who ply their trade and perfect ever new ways of milking the system.

    They will accept clients who misrepresent themselves as victims and will coach them to mimic the symptoms of injury. They will go so far as to cast and coordinate an entire staged incident where everyone plays an assigned role and gets paid, whether over the table or beneath it.

    Denny’s was previously exposed for bad behavior. Their public image suffered substantial damage as did their corporate bank account. They have eventually recovered and regained most of their good standing, but their past run-in with the law makes them a soft target for uncouth opportunists from inside and outside scheming to cherry-pick a quick and undeserved jackpot payout.

    Would the players who earn their income from insurance fraud through staged auto accidents ever attempt to branch out to staging discrimination incidents?

    I can’t say for certain.

    The only thing I can be pretty sure about is whenever it starts, it will get started first right here.