NAACP Joins Lawsuits Against Waffle House Restaurants

African American customers allege mistreatment and discrimination

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has joined as plaintiffs in lawsuits being filed today in federal court against Waffle House restaurants in Alabama and Georgia. In addition, Angela Ciccolo, NAACP Interim Chief Counsel, said NAACP attorneys would assist in lawsuits also filed today against the company and its franchisee, Hillcrest Foods, Inc., in Virginia and North Carolina. The lawsuits claim the Norcross, Georgia-based chain and its franchisees conducted a pattern and practice of discrimination and violated federal civil rights laws.

Complaints filed in federal district courts in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia describe alleged incidents including servers who announced that they did not have to serve African American customers; served unsanitary, fly-infested food to African Americans and other minority patrons; ignored African Americans while white patrons were seated and provided service; directed racial epithets at African American patrons; and became verbally abusive when asked to wait on African Americans.

Four simultaneous press conferences are being held this morning in Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Huntsville, Alabama and Norfolk, Virginia to discuss the details of the lawsuits.

"The NAACP supports this effort to obtain justice and respect for African American consumers and other people of color," said Ciccolo. "The NAACP will continue to demand fair and equal treatment and respect for African Americans and other people of color in dining establishments."

Attorneys with the Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights & Urban Affairs and the Washington D.C. law firms of Covington & Burling, Alderman & Devorsetz, Reed Smith LLP and Wiley Rein & Fielding represent the plaintiffs alleging race discrimination against Waffle House and its franchisees. In addition to the NAACP, also participating in this representation are the law firms of Ferguson Stein Chambers in Charlotte and Baxley, Dillard, Dauphin & McKnight of Birmingham in Huntsville.

Waffle House operates or franchises approximately 1,400 restaurants in 25 states. More than 20 other federal cases have already been filed recently against the Norcross, Georgia-based chain and its franchisees.

Waffle House customers who believe they may have witnessed incidents of racial discrimination are urged to call the Washington Lawyers' Committee toll-free hotline at: 1-800-575-4635.

Covington & Burling (www.cov.com) is an international law firm, with over 520 lawyers practicing in the key financial and regulatory centers of the world.

Alderman & Devorsetz (www.a-dlaw.com) is located in Washington, D.C. The firm represents companies and individuals in matters involving commercial and employment disputes, business formation and regulation, government affairs, healthcare law and personal injury.

Reed Smith (www.reedsmith.com), a global law firm with nearly 1,000 lawyers located in 14 U.S. and two U.K. cities, represents Fortune 100 as well as mid-market and emerging companies.

Wiley Rein & Fielding (www.wrf.com) is a national law firm widely recognized for excellence, integrity, and efficiency. With offices in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia, the firm has over 250 attorneys practicing in more than two-dozen specialties of law.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its half-million adult and youth members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and privates sectors.

CONTACT: NAACP Office of Communications 410.580.5125

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