August 20, 2012

Santa Monica jury awards punitive damages against hotel for discriminating against Jews

According to the NY Times, a Santa Monica jury has awarded $440,000 in punitive damages against a hotel and its owner for violations of California's civil rights laws.  The jury had previously awarded $1.2 million in compensatory damages, as reported by the LA Times

The plaintiffs are 18 individuals who belonged to a group called the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces.  They were holding a poolside event at the Hotel Shangri-La in 2010 when, according to their lawsuit, the owner of the hotel found out the nature of the event and ordered them to remove their literature and banners and get out of the pool.  The jury found the hotel liable for violating the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion. The hotel's chief business development officer (who is Jewish) says the hotel will appeal.

Hat tip: Prof. Fran├žois-Xavier Licari.