Denny's sued over service to blacks

March 21, 1995|By Marcia Myers | Marcia Myers,Sun Staff Writer

A Denny's restaurant in Salisbury last August refused to serve three African-Americans, who waited two hours after ordering breakfast and left unfed, according to a federal lawsuit filed yesterday.

The incident, the suit said, occurred three months after a $46 million settlement between the restaurant chain and 58 plaintiffs nationwide who had claimed a pattern of racial discrimination. In the lawsuits, Denny's and its employees were accused of failing to serve blacks or requiring them to pay a cover charge and pay their bills before receiving meals.

The Salisbury restaurant is a franchise operation, and is not owned by the national chain, said C. Christopher Brown, the lawyer for the three customers suing in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

Efforts to reach executives with Rommel Enterprises Limited Partnership, which owns the restaurant, were unsuccessful yesterday.

According to the suit, Chukwuma Uba of Baltimore and two friends from the Eastern Shore arrived at the restaurant about 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning last August. When they tried to order carry-out service, a waitress told them it was not available at that hour and seated them at a table.

However, after ordering, the three noticed that white customers were being sold carry-out food and beverages, the suit said. They repeatedly asked their waitress how soon their order would be ready, and each time were told "soon."

When the meals had not arrived by 4 a.m., they left the restaurant, according to the suit.

The complaint alleges race discrimination by the restaurant and asks for unspecified damages.

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