May 10, 2005 – Seven American Muslims of Middle Eastern descent are suing Restaurant Collection Inc., the owner of a Florida City Denny's restaurant and a former shift manager, complaining of discrimination.
The plaintiffs, all male US citizens, claim that the shift supervisor, Eduardo Ascano, refused to serve them for over an hour on the morning of January 11, 2004. When they asked about their order, Ascano allegedly called them "bin Ladens," cancelled their orders and threatened to fight them outside.
Two off-duty police officers then reportedly threatened to arrest the group if they did not leave.
Alan C. Kauffman, the lawyer representing the group, told the Boca Raton News last week that the Denny's Corporation later failed to respond to their complaints. Kauffman added that the $28 million the group seeks is consistent with past jury decisions.
Kauffman said he would also ask the court to force Dennyâ€™s to implement a policy to revoke franchise ownership in cases of racial or religious discrimination.
Alfonso Fernandez, who owns the franchise in question, denied he allegations in a written statement.
A separate lawsuit is pending against the police officers.
Dennyâ€™s has been the subject of more than a half-dozen discrimination suits, including one in 1994 accusing the restaurant of asking African-American patrons to prepay. That case settled for more than $54 million.