Starlight Drive-In Sued for Race Discrimination
Barrett & Farahany filed a lawsuit on April 17, 2014, against Starlight Recreation LLC in federal court in Atlanta for unlawful discrimination on the basis of race.
Starlight Recreation, known locally as the Starlight Drive-in Theater, hired a new manager, Nick Garrett, in January 2014. Starlight chose Mr. Garrett over an African American female who had ten years of experience in the movie theater industry, including five years as a general manager, and a master’s degree in education. Mr. Garrett, a white male, had no prior experience in the movie theater industry.
At the time Mr. Garrett was hired, Starlight employed African American, Caucasian and Hispanic employees. But, between February and early March 2014, Mr. Garrett terminated every African American and Hispanic employee, including employees who had been at Starlight for seven years. Mr. Garrett replaced each of these terminated employees with Caucasian employees.
Mr. Garrett continued to employ Caucasian employees who had been working for Starlight. On the evening of March 8, 2014, every employee working at the Atlanta location of Starlight Recreation was Caucasian.
Starlight Recreation’s conduct deprived the plaintiffs of economic opportunities, and otherwise adversely affected their status as employees, because of their race. Because of Starlight Recreation’s actions, the psychological and physical well-being of the plaintiffs were adversely affected. They have been embarrassed, humiliated and suffered damage to their emotional health, and have lost back pay and front pay. Starlight’s wilfully and wantonly disregarded plaintiffs’ civil rights. The plaintiffs demand judgment for damages caused by Starlight’s misconduct, and a trial by jury.
Click here for a download of the PDF – Starlight Discrimination Case
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA ATLANTA DIVISION
KEZIAH HARMON, CANDACE WOODALL, Plaintiffs, v. STARLIGHT RECREATION LLC, Defendant.
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
COMES NOW, Plaintiffs, by and through undersigned counsel, and files this their Complaint for Damages, and shows the Court as follows:
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
1. Plaintiffs invoke the jurisdiction of this court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
2. The alleged unlawful employment practices alleged in this Complaint were committed within this district. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 1391, venue is appropriate in this Court.
3. Plaintiffs are African American female citizens of the United States of America, and are subject to the jurisdiction of this Court.
4. Defendant Starlight Recreation, LLC is qualified and licensed to do business in Georgia, and at all times material hereto has conducted business within this District.
5. Defendant Starlight Recreation, LLC may be served with process by delivering a copy of the summons and complaint to its registered agent Theodora Oldknow, 2000 Moreland Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30316.
6. Defendant Starlight Recreation, LLC is now, and at all times relevant hereto, has been an employer engaged in an industry affecting commerce.
7. Starlight Recreation, LLC does business in Atlanta as the Starlight Drive-in, a drive-in movie theater.
8. In January 2014, Ralph Nardoni hired Nick Garrett as the General Manager of Starlight.
9. At that time, Starlight employed African American, Caucasian and Hispanic employees.
10. Mr. Garrett, a white male, had no prior experience in the movie theater industry.
11. Mr. Nardoni chose Mr. Garrett over Keziah Harmon, who had ten (10) years experience in the movie theater industry, including five years as a general manager.
12. Ms. Harmon also has a masters degree in education.
13. Mr. Nardoni hired Ms. Harmon on January 14, 2014, as an assistant manager.
14. Upon Ms. Harmon’s recommendation, Starlight hired Candace Woodall on January 31, 2014, to work in the concession stand.
15. Keziah Harmon and Candace Woodall worked for Starlight Recreation under Nick Garrett until Nick Garrett fired them both on February 23, 2014.
16. Nick Garrett hired a white employee to replace Ms. Harmon.
17. Nick Garrett hired a white employee to replace Ms. Woodall.
18. Between February and early March 2014, Mr. Garrett terminated every African American and Hispanic employee, including employees Janice Phillips, Derricka Leach and Sheba Whitaker.
19. Ms. Phillips had been employed with Starlight for five years.
20. Ms. Leach had been employed with Starlight for seven years. Ms. Whitaker had been employed with Starlight for four years.
22. Mr. Garrett continued to employ Caucasian employees who had been working for Starlight.
23. Mr. Garrett replaced each of these terminated employees with Caucasian employees.
24. On the evening of March 8th, 2014, every employee working at the Atlanta location of Starlight Recreation was Caucasian.
25. Although Starlight Recreation, LLC purports to provide a legitimate non- discriminatory reason for the adverse action, this reason is a pre-text.
26. Starlight Recreation LLC fired Keziah Harmon and Candace Woodall because of their race.
VIOLATION OF 42 U.S.C. § 1981
27. Plaintiffs re-allege the preceding paragraphs as if set forth fully herein.
28. Starlight Recreation LLC, Nick Garrett actions in subjecting Keziah Harmon and Candace Woodall to different terms and conditions of employment constitutes unlawful discrimination on the basis of race in violation of 42 U.S.C. section 1981.
29. The effect of the conduct was to deprive Plaintiffs of economic opportunites, and otherwise adversely effected Plaintiffs’ status as employees, because of their race.
30. As a direct and proximate result of these actions, Plaintiffs have been made a victim of acts that adversely affected their psychological and physical well being.
31. As a direct and proximate result of Defendant Starlight Recreation LLC’s unlawful employment practices, Plaintiffs have been embarrassed, humiliated and have suffered damage to their emotional health, and have lost back pay and front pay.
32. Starlight Recreation LLC willfully and wantonly disregarded Plaintiffs’ rights, and Starlight Recreation’s discrimination against Plaintiffs was undertaken in bad faith.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs demand judgment as follows:
(a) General damages for mental and emotional suffering caused by Defendants’ misconduct;
(b) Punitive damages based on Defendants’ willful, malicious, intentional, and deliberate acts, including ratification, condonation and approval of said acts;
(c) Special damages and/or liquidated damages for lost wages and benefits and prejudgment interest thereon;
(d) Reasonable attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation;
(e) Trial by jury as to all issues;
(f) Prejudgment interest at the rate allowed by law;
(g) Declaratory relief to the effect that Defendant Starlight Recreation Inc. has violated Plaintiffs’ statutory rights;
(h) Injunctive relief of reinstatement, or front pay in lieu thereof, and prohibiting Defendant Starlight Recreation Inc. from further unlawful conduct of the type described herein; and
(i) All other relief to which they may be entitled.
Respectfully submitted the 17th day of April, 2014.
BARRETT & FARAHANY, LLP
s/Amanda A. Farahany Amanda A. Farahany Georgia Bar No. 646135
Abigail J. Larimer
Georgia Bar No. 999229
Attorney for Plaintiffs