University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name United States of America v. Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc. PA-SC-0001
Docket / Court Civ. A. No. AC-1605 ( D.S.C. )
State/Territory South Carolina
Case Type(s) Public Accomm./Contracting
Case Summary
On December 18, 1964, Black residents of South Carolina filed this class action lawsuit against the corporate entity Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants refused to serve them at their South Carolinian restaurants in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ... read more >
On December 18, 1964, Black residents of South Carolina filed this class action lawsuit against the corporate entity Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc. The plaintiffs alleged that the defendants refused to serve them at their South Carolinian restaurants in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Piggie Park operated six barbecue restaurants. Five of them were drive-in restaurants that served food to customers in their cars and let them drive away to eat elsewhere. The sixth restaurant, Little Joe's Sandwich Shop, offered seating capacity for sixty customers and people generally consumed the food in the restaurant. Across all six restaurants, about 20% of the food purchased was either processed or manufactured out of state.

The defendant's answer contended that the Piggie Park did not engage in enough interstate commerce to fall within the Civil Rights Acts' purview. The defendants also argued that the Civil Rights Act denied them "due process of the and/or equal protection of the law" as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and finally contended that the Act violates the defendants First Amendment right to freedom of religion.

In an opinion issued on July 28, 1966, Judge Charles Earl Simons, Jr., found largely in favor of Piggie Park. 256 F. Supp. 941. Judge Simons noted that the defendants' argument premised on the Fourteenth Amendment and Commerce Clause were precluded by Heart of Atlanta Motel v. U.S.. He also denied the defendants' First Amendment argument, noting that "[t]he free exercise of one's beliefs . . . is subject to regulation when religious acts require accommodation to society." The only remaining question, he said, was whether the restaurants were covered by the Act. Judge Simons looked to the text of Section 2000a(b)(2) of the Act, which provided that "any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises" was covered. Judge Simons concluded that Little Joe's Sandwich Shop was covered by the Act because it offered seating and service within the restaurant. However, he found that the other five restaurants were not covered because patrons did not eat "on the premises," but rather in their cars or wherever else they drove. As such, Judge Simons enjoined the defendants from refusing to Black patrons only at Little Joe's Sandwich Shop. Judge Simons also ordered that court costs exclusive of attorneys' fees should be awarded to the plaintiffs.

The plaintiffs appealed the district court decision concerning the five drive-in restaurants. On April 24, 1967, the Fourth Circuit reversed the district court's holding. 377 F.2d 433. In an opinion written by Judge James Craven, the Fourth Circuit held that Congress intended the Civil Rights Act to cover all restaurants, regardless whether the food was consumed on the premises or not. The Fourth Circuit remanded the case to the district court to determine whether the plaintiffs' attorneys were entitled to attorneys' fees. The Fourth Circuit directed the district court to award counsel fees to the extent that the defendant's arguments were advanced "for purposes of delay and not in good faith."

The defendants appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court and, on October 9, 1967, the Court granted certiorari to decide whether the subjective standard for determining attorneys' fees was appropriate. 389 U.S. 815.

In a per curiam opinion issued on March 18, 1968, the Supreme Court affirmed the Fourth Circuit's holding. 390 U.S. 400. The Court found that private enforcement of the Civil Rights Act was intended by Congress. The Act did not provide for a damages remedy, so Congress enabled attorneys' fees "to encourage individuals injured by racial discrimination to seek judicial relief." In a footnote, the Supreme Court also reaffirmed Katzenbach v. McClung's holding that religious beliefs did not allow for racial discrimination.

Justin Hill - 06/28/2021


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Discrimination Prohibition
Defendant-type
Restaurant
Discrimination-basis
Race discrimination
General
Access to public accommodations - privately owned
Disparate Treatment
Racial segregation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Race
Black
Causes of Action Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000d et seq.
Defendant(s) Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Black South Carolinian citizens.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Unknown
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 12/18/1964
Case Closing Year 1968
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Newman v. Piggie Park Enterprises, Inc.
Oyez
Date: Mar. 18, 1968
By: Oyez
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
not recorded
Public Accommodations Summary
PA-SC-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of David Marlin
not recorded
07/21/1964
Non-Compliance
PA-SC-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of David Marlin
not recorded
08/04/1964
Public Accommodations in South Carolina
PA-SC-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of David Marlin
not recorded
09/03/1964
Public Accommodations in South Carolina; Status Report
PA-SC-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of David Marlin
D.S.C.
09/28/1964
Complaint
PA-SC-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of David Marlin
not recorded
09/28/1964
Record of Telephone Communication
PA-SC-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of David Marlin
not recorded
09/29/1964
Re: U. S. v. Lloyd Maurice Bessinger Sr.
PA-SC-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of David Marlin
not recorded
10/01/1964
Letter Re: Complaint of Bessinger
PA-SC-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of David Marlin
not recorded
10/29/1964
Investigative Status of Public Accommodation Suit against Piggie Pork Restaurant chain in South Carolina
PA-SC-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: Papers of David Marlin
D.S.C.
07/28/1966
Order (256 F.Supp. 941)
PA-SC-0001-0011.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
U.S. Court of Appeals
04/24/1967
Opinion of the Court (377 F.2d 433)
PA-SC-0001-0012.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
U.S. Supreme Court
11/24/1967
Brief for Petitioners
PA-SC-0001-0014.pdf | Detail
Source: Westlaw
U.S. Supreme Court
03/18/1968
On Writ of the Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (88 S.Ct. 964)
PA-SC-0001-0010.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: Papers of Owen Fiss
U.S. Supreme Court
03/18/1968
Opinion (390 U.S. 400)
PA-SC-0001-0013.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: Google Scholar
show all people docs
Judges Craven, James Braxton Jr. (W.D.N.C., Fourth Circuit) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0012
Simons, Charles Earl Jr. (E.D. S.C., D.S.C.) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0011
Plaintiff's Lawyers Barrett, St. John (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0001 | PA-SC-0001-0002
Doar, John (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0003
Glenn, Terrell L. (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0001 | PA-SC-0001-0004
Greenberg, Jack (North Carolina) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0013 | PA-SC-0001-0014
Katzenbach, Nicholas de B. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0001 | PA-SC-0001-0003
Marlin, David H. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0002 | PA-SC-0001-0003 | PA-SC-0001-0004 | PA-SC-0001-0005 | PA-SC-0001-0006 | PA-SC-0001-0007
Marshall, Burke (Connecticut) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0001
Norman, David L. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0006 | PA-SC-0001-0007
Smith, Marvin L. (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0004 | PA-SC-0001-0005
Defendant's Lawyers Jenkins, Lincoln C Jr (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0014
Meltsner, Michael (New York) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0014
Nabrit, James M. III (New York) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0014
Perry, Matthew James (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0014
Pride, Hemphill P II (South Carolina) show/hide docs
PA-SC-0001-0014

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