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Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Ridgeway v. TW Services/Denny's, U.S. v. TW Services, and DR-CA-0001
Docket / Court 5:93-cv-20208-JW ( N.D. Cal. )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Public Accomm./Contracting
Attorney Organization U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Case Summary
On March 26, 1993, the United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et seq. (the Public Accommodations Act), in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Califonia against TW Services and its subsidiary, Denny's, ... read more >
On March 26, 1993, the United States Justice Department filed a lawsuit under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000a et seq. (the Public Accommodations Act), in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Califonia against TW Services and its subsidiary, Denny's, Inc., which operates Denny's Restaurants, alleging discriminatory treatment of African Americans by Denny's restaurants in California. Specifically, the complaint alleged that Denny's implemented terms and conditions for service of black customers, such as the requirement of prepayment and cover charges, that were not required of white patrons, that African Americans received poorer service, and that they were discouraged from patronizing the restaurant.

The complaint was filed contemporaneously with a consent decree, which was approved by the Court on April 1, 1993. On July 2, 1993, the Court, on its own motion, consolidated the case with Ridgeway v. Denny's Corporation, a class action filed on March 24, 1993, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Both actions alleged violations of the Public Accommodations Act in relation to Denny's treatment of African American customers. The class action also alleged violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1981, 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), California Business and Professions Code §§ 17200 et seq., California Civil Code §§ 51 et seq. and California Civil Code §§ 1750 et seq.

Following execution of the original decree, numerous complaints of racial discrimination were submitted to the Plaintiff Class and the United States. The United States investigated the complaints and, on May 24, 1994, submitted an amended consent decree to expand the protections to customers and prevent future discrimination. The amended consent decree prohibited Denny's from engaging in discriminatory treatment of African Americans and established procedures for compliance, including a comprehensive non-discrimination training program, as well as provisions for notice, advertising, testing, monitoring and record keeping. It also required the defendants to establish a $28 million settlement fund for the plaintiff class, and appointment of a Special Master. The Amended Consent Decree was given final approval by the Court (Judge James Ware) on July 29, 1994.

After preliminary approval of the Amended Consent Decree, the parties received reports that a number of individuals and organizations in California were charging fees for services related to the preparation and/or filing of claims in the case. The court (Judge Ware) issued several cease and desist orders to counsel concerning processing of potential claimants. Ridgeway v. Flagstar Corporation, Nos. C 93-20202, C 93-20208, 1994 WL 525553 (N.D.Cal. Sept. 22, 1994.), Ridgeway v. Flagstar Corporation, Nos. C 93-20202, C 93-20208, 1994 WL 564571 (N.D.Cal. Oct. 3, 1994)). The court (Judge Ware) also issued orders vacating depositions scheduled by class counsel. Ridgeway v. Flagstar Corporation, Nos. C 93-20202, C 93-20208, 1994 WL 665250 (N.D.Cal. Nov. 3, 1994), Ridgeway v. Flagstar Corporation, Nos. C 93-20202, C 93-20208, 1994 WL 665243 (N.D.Cal. Nov. 8, 1994), and denying requests of non-party lawyers to amend the judgment and get for fees defending motions to compel. Ridgeway v. Flagstar Corporation, Nos. C 93-20202, C 93-20208, 1994 WL 665414 (N.D.Cal. Nov. 8, 1994). The court (Judge Ware) further denied a second motion from the lawyers, vacated a scheduled hearing, and ordered the lawyers to prepare a list of any Denny's claimants who had signed contingency fees with them. Ridgeway v. Flagstar Corporation, Nos. C 93-20202, C 93-20208, 1994 WL 669935 (N.D.Cal. Nov. 18, 1994).

In July and August of 1996 the court issued orders clarifying the confidentiality provisions of the decree and modifying dates for distribution of residual funds. After several years of status reports, the United States submitted a final report on January 16, 2001, recommending early dismissal of the consent decree. On April 4, 2001, the Court (Judge Ware) terminated the consent decree's provisions effective November 11, 2000, and dismissed the case.

Denise Lieberman - 12/02/2006


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Develop anti-discrimination policy
Discrimination Prohibition
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitor/Master
Monitoring
Provide antidiscrimination training
Recordkeeping
Reporting
Retaliation Prohibition
Defendant-type
Restaurant
Discrimination-area
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
Racial profiling
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
U.S. Dept of Justice plaintiff
Race
Black
Type of Facility
Non-government for profit
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) Denny's Restaurants
Plaintiff Description United States Department of Justice, Disability Rights Section
Indexed Lawyer Organizations U.S. Dept. of Justice Civil Rights Division
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Damages
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 1993 - 2000
Case Closing Year 2001
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Civil Warrior: Memoirs of a Civil Rights Attorney
Written: Jan. 01, 2003
By: Guy T. Saperstein
Citation: (Berkeley Hills Books 2003)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  The Denny's Story: How a Company in Crisis Resurrected Its Good Name and Reputation
Written: Jan. 21, 2000
By: Jim Adamson
Citation: (Wiley 2000)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
5:93-cv-20208-JW (N.D. Cal.) 04/04/2001
DR-CA-0001-9000 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
5:93-cv-20202-JW (N.D. Cal.) 04/04/2001
DR-CA-0001-9001 PDF | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint 01/01/1993
DR-CA-0001-0002 PDF | Detail
Consent Decree 04/01/1993 (1993 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 7882) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0001-0009 PDF | LEXIS | Detail
Document Source: LexisNexis
Amended Consent Decree 01/01/1994
DR-CA-0001-0001 PDF | Detail
Order to Cease and Desist 09/22/1994 (1994 WL 525553 / 1994 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 21639) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0001-0004 PDF | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Order to Cease and Desist 10/03/1994 (1994 WL 564571) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0001-0005 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order Vacating Depositions of Gerald Salaam and Paul Jackson and Requiring Production of Claimant List to Class Counsel 11/03/1994 (1994 WL 665250) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0001-0006 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order Vacating Deposition of Jerry Varnado and Requiring Production of Claimant List to Class Counsel 11/08/1994 (1994 WL 665243) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0001-0007 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order Denying Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment 11/08/1994 (1994 WL 665414) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0001-0008 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Order Vacating Hearing RE: Motion to Alter or Amend Judgment and Requiring Creation and Production of List 11/18/1994 (1994 WL 669935) (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0001-0003 PDF | WESTLAW | Detail
Judges Trumbull, Patricia V. (N.D. Cal.) [Magistrate]
DR-CA-0001-9000 | DR-CA-0001-9001
Ware, James (N.D. Cal.)
DR-CA-0001-0003 | DR-CA-0001-0004 | DR-CA-0001-0005 | DR-CA-0001-0006 | DR-CA-0001-0007 | DR-CA-0001-0008 | DR-CA-0001-0009 | DR-CA-0001-9000 | DR-CA-0001-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Demchak, Teresa (California)
DR-CA-0001-0001 | DR-CA-0001-9001
Hancock, Paul F. (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0001-0001 | DR-CA-0001-0002 | DR-CA-0001-0009 | DR-CA-0001-9000
Heffernan, Brian F. (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0001-0001 | DR-CA-0001-0002 | DR-CA-0001-0003 | DR-CA-0001-0004 | DR-CA-0001-0005 | DR-CA-0001-0007 | DR-CA-0001-0008 | DR-CA-0001-0009 | DR-CA-0001-9000
Holt, L. W. (California)
DR-CA-0001-0003 | DR-CA-0001-0008
Lawson, Antonio (California)
DR-CA-0001-0001 | DR-CA-0001-0003 | DR-CA-0001-0004 | DR-CA-0001-0005 | DR-CA-0001-0007 | DR-CA-0001-0008
Mayeda, Mari (California)
DR-CA-0001-0001 | DR-CA-0001-9001
Mendez, John A. (California)
DR-CA-0001-0002 | DR-CA-0001-0002 | DR-CA-0001-0009 | DR-CA-0001-9000
Olguin, Fernando Manzano (California)
DR-CA-0001-0001 | DR-CA-0001-0002 | DR-CA-0001-0009
Patrick, Deval L. (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0001-0001
Price, Patricia G. (California)
DR-CA-0001-0001
Reno, Janet (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0001-0002
Schirle, Stephen L. (California)
DR-CA-0001-0009 | DR-CA-0001-9000
Shaheen, Christopher T. (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0001-0002 | DR-CA-0001-0009 | DR-CA-0001-9000
Turner, James P. (District of Columbia)
DR-CA-0001-0002 | DR-CA-0001-0009 | DR-CA-0001-9000
Utti, Mary Beth (California)
DR-CA-0001-0003 | DR-CA-0001-0004 | DR-CA-0001-0005 | DR-CA-0001-0007 | DR-CA-0001-0008 | DR-CA-0001-9000
Wilson, Amanda K. (California)
DR-CA-0001-0003 | DR-CA-0001-0004 | DR-CA-0001-0005 | DR-CA-0001-0007 | DR-CA-0001-0008 | DR-CA-0001-9001
Yamaguchi, Michael J. (California)
DR-CA-0001-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Bazile, Leo (California)
DR-CA-0001-0007
Farrell, Joseph B. (California)
DR-CA-0001-0001 | DR-CA-0001-9001
Pfister, Thomas L. (California)
DR-CA-0001-0001 | DR-CA-0001-0003 | DR-CA-0001-0004 | DR-CA-0001-0005 | DR-CA-0001-0007 | DR-CA-0001-0008
Steering, Jerry L. (California)
DR-CA-0001-0004
Other Lawyers None on record

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