FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT IN
WEST VIRGINIA RACIAL DISCRIMINATION CASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights R. Alexander Acosta and U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia Thomas E. Johnston today announced an agreement regarding a lawsuit that alleged civil rights violations. The owners of The Mounty bar and restaurant in Chester, West Virginia agreed to settle a lawsuit that alleged violations of Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, and religion in places of public accommodation such as hotels, restaurants and certain places of entertainment.
The settlement, which must still be approved by a federal district judge, resolves a lawsuit filed by the Justice Department. Black Wolf, Inc., owner and operator of the establishment, has agreed to settle the lawsuit by agreeing to an injunction that will prohibit any future violations of the law, as well as require employees to be trained in the requirements of federal civil rights laws.
“Title II requires every place of public accommodation, including restaurants, to serve all customers regardless of race, color, religion or national origin,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Through settlement agreements such as this one, the Justice Department is ensuring that the civil rights protections are available on equal terms to all Americans. We commend the defendant for cooperating with the Justice Department in resolving this matter.”
The lawsuit alleged that The Mounty refused to serve African-American customers by requiring them to display “membership cards” before agreeing to serve them, while not demanding them from other customers.
The settlement requires the defendant to serve customers of all races, whether or not they have membership cards, post signs alerting customers that establishment serves all persons regardless of race or color and train employees in the requirements of Title II.
“Protecting the civil rights of all of our citizens, including standing firm against racial discrimination, is a high priority for our office,” said Thomas E. Johnston, United States Attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia. “I appreciate the work of the Civil Rights Division and the cooperation of the defendant in arriving at an appropriate resolution of this matter.”
Additional information about the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division is available on the Justice Department website at www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing <http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing>.