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Lizardo v. Denny Inc. NDI Case Study

Free «Lizardo v. Denny Inc. NDI Case Study» Essay Sample

On April 11, 1997 at Denny’s restaurant, in Erie Boulevant at Syracuse, New York, NDI Foods, the defendant, owned as well as operated a restaurant in pursuant to Franchise Agreement terms with Denny’s Inc. The plaintiffs in the appeal case were three African-Americans and seven Asian-Americans claiming that they were subjected to retaliation and racial discrimination because employees of Denny’s restaurant failed to serve them. The plaintiffs were Arnold Lizardo, Li Chiu, Kyoko Hiraoka, Antwaune Ponds, Marchelle Woelfel, Yuya Hasegawa, Taiko Tatenami, Sean Dugan and Yoshika Kusada. The defendants were Kenneth Adams, Douglas Paninski, NDI Foods and Denny’s Holdings. After they had complained, they were ejected. However, the District Court’s comprehensive opinion concluded that they did not provide sufficient evidence that any reasonable judge could determine that they were racially discriminated or there was retaliation (Free, 2003).

The current essay will delve into the Lizardo v. Denny Inc. NDIappeal case. Towards this end, the paper will seek to provide a succinct description as to how Denny’s management and security guards could have handled this situation. Additionally, an explanation of the daytime occupation for Denny’s security guards will be provided to demonstrate how it influenced the judges’ decision on the Lizardo v. Denny Inc. NDIcase. Further, the paper will attempt to justify the District Court’s decision in the case as far as discrimination is concerned. Lastly, an assessment of how the case can be a precedent in other cases as well as conclusions drawn from the precedent will be examined.

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The plaintiffs entered the crowded restaurant where the employees were busy due to the morning ‘rush.’ At this time, bars close and patrons flock in search of foodstuff. Apart from Hasegawa, all plaintiffs patronized Regatta bar in Sheraton Hotel prior to going to Denny’s. On arrival, there were other people who waited for tables. Moreover, there were other minorities seated in the restaurant including many African-Americans and a single Asian-American (Young, 2006). Some Caucasians entered after these plaintiffs and sat before them due to anger, Plaintiff Chiu talked to Milissia Kirts, a hostess, regarding the long wait and further suggested that they were racially discriminated. Milissia Kirts was annoyed by the accusation. Lizardo complained that her gesture was ridiculous. Kenneth Adams, a security officer, escorted him from the restaurant. The other Asian-Americans followed them out.

The defendants complained that Lizardo and Chiu were obnoxious, loud, and it disrupted other customers. They claimed that Lizardo was profane, inebriated, and even called Kirts or Sheri Campney, the restaurant’s manager a ‘bitch.’ To them, only Lizardo was compelled to move out of the restaurant. He was physically ejected. After getting out, Adams and Lizardo exchanged words. Adams shoved Lizardo in his chest. Dugan was also shoved. The melee ensued with eruption of physical confrontations between the Asian-American plaintiffs and several patrons. At around 2:58am, Adams called 911 stating that assistance was required due to the fight that broke up. At 3:00am, police arrived and stopped the fight. The Asian-Americans were injured. They needed medical treatment. Ponds and Woelfel were amongst those who went in the restaurant in order to observe the ensuing hostilities. Mazoka remained inside.


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Upon arrival, Woelfel used profanity while complaining about the security guards’ conduct. The restaurant’s manager ordered them to either leave or be quiet. They left and were served bereft of any incident in a different Denny’s restaurant. It was important to determine whether services denial for the plaintiffs was due to racial discrimination. The court held that the plaintiffs did not provide sufficient evidence as to whether the sitting by white patrons in the restaurant was out of preferential treatment. There is a similarity between Lizardo v. Denny Inc. NDI and Shumway v. United Parcel Services Inc.,in circumstances and facts. The plaintiffs sought to compare themselves with a smaller group that in a restaurant gave them the upper hand. The claim by the plaintiffs that the defendants were ‘markedly hostile’ against them provided circumstantial evidence for the intent of the defendants to discriminate did not hold water. The mistreatment from the defendants is irrelevant in assessment of the plaintiffs’ race-based animus circumstantial evidence. To the court, the hostile treatment entails a decrease in civility and not discrimination. However, racial discrimination is detrimental (Goering & Wienk, 1996).

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The shoving of Dugan and Lizardo by the security officers was inappropriate since it was out of anger. Calling 911 rather than fighting was a cautionary measure. The management of Denny’s restaurant and the security guards could have handled the situation better. In fact, the disgruntled racial minority could have been served if the management and security had taken appropriate measures. Kirts’ retort to Lizardo was uncalled for. The security guard could have calmly directed Lizardo out of the restaurant to avoid commotion that attracted other customers. Shoving Dugan and Lizardo on the chest was a product of indignation and unprofessional behavior.

The court’s decision was appropriate. In fact, there were minority of Asian-Americans and African-Americans seating and being served in that restaurant. It is prima facie evidence that the gesture by the hostess on the plaintiffs had no intent to discriminate against them. The white patrons arriving later after the Asian-Americans and African-Americans were only treated preferentially due to their group size. The retaliation claims by the Asian-Americans were not accompanied by sufficient evidence. The plaintiffs stretched the restaurant’s help to the limit. Paninski and Adams’ conduct was not indicative of some marked hostility (Young, 2006).

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In conclusion, Lizardo v. Denny Inc. NDIcase is instrumental in serving as a precedent in racial discrimination cases. Primarily, the case provides the threshold for circumstantial and prima facie evidence against racial discrimination as well as retaliation. Indeed, the claims by the plaintiffs could not be substantiated and could not be used by the court to incriminate the defendants. Evidence demonstrating the intent to discriminate racially by the defendants was insufficient. Kirts only acted out of anger and Adams took a precautionary measure to avert disturbance on the other customers.

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