Ridgeway v. Flagstar, Inc., d.b.a. Denny’s

Ridgeway v. Flagstar, Inc., d.b.a. Denny’s, Case No. C93-20208 (N.D. Cal.) was a class action lawsuit brought by African American customers of Denny’s Restaurants in California.  Plaintiffs alleged that Denny’s practices resulted in African American customers being asked to pre-pay for their meals, denied free birthday meals and other promotions, being required to wait long periods of time for service, and other discriminatory service and treatment.  The case resulted in a $34.8 million settlement and a consent decree that required Denny’s to provide training to all its managers and wait staff and investigate customer complaints. This was the largest public accommodations case since the passage of Title VII, and led to major changes in Denny’s culture.  The Denny’s Story, by Jim Adamson (John Wiley & Sons 2000), the former CEO of Denny’s parent company, chronicles how the company implemented the consent decree that resulted from this and two companion cases against Denny’s.  Adamson dedicates the book to, among others, Goldstein, Borgen, Dardarian & Ho’s managing partner, Teresa Demchak, for her help in what Adamson calls Denny’s “cultural transformation” to a management style that values diversity.