Lawsuit between Winery and “Disruptive” Patrons Settled in Mediation
Members of the Sistahs on the Reading Edge book club have settled their lawsuit against a Napa Valley winery train tour, after the 11-member group was asked to leave the tour for “laughing loudly.” After the group, consisting of one white woman and ten black women was ejected from the train, the Twitter hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack caused the story to go viral. The women filed a discrimination lawsuit against the tour company.
Employees of the tour claimed the women were aggressive. They were warned several times to be quieter, but disregarded the requests and became more disruptive. They were forced to disembark from the train and were met be police officers waiting for them. Book club leader Lisa Renee Johnson stated she felt humiliated and that the group should have been treated better as paying customers. She also claimed the group was accused of being verbally and physically abusive of other passengers on the train.
Originally, the women sought $11 million in damages. They claimed that in addition to their public humiliation, two members of the group lost their jobs as a result of the events. Both sides entered into private mediation, which successfully resolved the matter for an undisclosed amount of moment.
The Napa Valley Wine Train has publicly stated its employees were not exhibiting racial bias and called the women on the train “wild.”
The book club intends to return to Napa Valley for their annual retreat, but will hire a chauffeur as a private escort to avoid future incidents.