An African-American nurse claims a white waitress at a Denny's restaurant in Pasadena made racist remarks toward her when she tried to pay for her meal with a $100 bill.
April Hines is suing the Florida-based restaurant chain for civil rights violations and emotional distress.
"She called me a black b---h," Hines said. "She told me also I better not come back there. And the people that were there with me -- I was the only black woman there -- she told, she asked, why are you guys even with her," Hines said.
Jonathon Kaplan is representing Hines in the lawsuit.
"Denny's needs to be told by a judge or jury that they have to stop this behavior," Kaplan said.
Hines also claimed the waitress was hostile with her from the beginning of their encounter.
"She was just passing food over my face. Just being real rude and inconsiderate of me being there," Hines said.
According to Hines, the waitress even called the police, but no report was taken. Hines said Denny's staff showed no sympathy, but her co-workers did.
"They ran out of Denny's, came and hugged me. I was really embarrassed, hurt. I was just shocked," Hines said.
Hines is seeking unspecified damages.
Denny's responded to Hines' claims with the statement below.
"We are aware of the lawsuit that was recently filed in the Superior Court of the State of California, in the County of Los Angeles. We vigorously deny the claims made in the suit. At Denny's, we do not tolerate any acts of discrimination and take any claims to the contrary very seriously. Based on our preliminary findings, these claims are unfounded. This is the same Plaintiff's attorney who previously tried a case of a similar nature, ending with his clients dismissing the case and stating that they do not believe Denny's is a company that tolerates discrimination by its employees. We are prepared to try the case in court."
The previous case was filed in connection with a May 2014 encounter involving two customers and a former Denny's manager. In that case, that plaintiffs said the manager at the Vermont Avenue location, just north of Wilshire Boulevard, were asked to prepay for their meals, allegedly because of their ethnicity.
The case was dismissed in LA Superior Court in February 2016. The plaintiffs issued a statement in which they said that, after listening to testimony from the former manager, they were satisfied his actions were "an honest mistake" and not racially motivated.