Posted on April 28, 2005

Seven Arab Americans Sue Denny’s Owner Alleging Discrimination

Palm Beach Post, Apr. 28

MIAMI — Seven men of Middle Eastern descent have sued a South Florida Denny’s restaurant franchisee and one of its managers for $28 million, saying they were kicked out because of their ancestry and compared to Osama Bin Laden.

The men, who are all U.S. citizens, are seeking $4 million each from Restaurant Collection Inc., which owns the Denny’s franchise, and shift manager Eduardo Ascano, whom they say compared them to the Al-Qaida terrorist leader.

“This was a terrible act against Arab Americans,” Alan C. Kauffman, one of the attorneys for the group, said Wednesday.

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The seven men say they went to Fernandez’s restaurant in Florida City, on the southern tip of the Florida peninsula, about 2 a.m. Jan. 11, 2004. They say they were seated, given menus and received their drink orders. But an hour later, their food hadn’t arrived. One of the men — Ehab Albaradi — approached Ascano and inquired about the group’s order, the lawsuit says.

Ascano allegedly said: “Bin Laden is the manager of the kitchen” and “Bin Laden is in charge.”

Albaradi and a second man, Usama El-A-Baidy, decided to speak to Ascano again about their order.

Angered, Ascano told the short order cooks in the kitchen to cancel the group’s order, the suit claims.

El-A-Baidy then asked Ascano why he had used the name bin Laden.

“We don’t serve bin Ladens here! You guys, out!” Ascano allegedly said.

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