Yesterday, attorney Brian Tagtmeier, on behalf of plaintiffs Brandon Ball, Danval (“Dan”) Scarbrough and Kennard (“Ken”) Piggee, filed a civil lawsuit against Gaslamp in federal court. The suit accuses Texas Guardian Incorporated and Ayman Jarrah, owner of the midtown nightclub, of racial discrimination in a place of a public accommodation.” Civil rights attorney Ike Okarafor and DaSean Jones are also representing the plaintiffs.
The lawsuit follows weeks of controversy that has swirled around the nightclub since a Facebook post by Ball accusing the Gaslamp of a racially discriminatory cover fee.
Federal law prohibits discrimination in places of public accommodation. The relevant section begins:
All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.
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The lawsuit states: “On or about September 11, Ball, Scarbrough and Piggee arrived at Gaslamp and were directed by the security at the entrance that there would be a $20 cover to gain admittance to the bar.” It goes on to say the men declined to pay the cover fee and “when returning to their cards, they walked past the Gaslamp [and] discovered that all white patrons to Gaslamp were allowed to enter the bar without paying a cover fee.”
Ball, Scarbrough and Piggee are demanding a jury trial and asking the court to “Enjoin the Defendants from further acts of race discrimination in the operation of public accommodations.” Additionally, the trio are seeking monetary damages that include “compensatory damages and/or punitive damages,” attorney fees, court costs, expert fees and pre- and post-judgment interest.
The full text of the complaint can be viewed below.