Atlanta (WAOK)- A federal jury decided in less than 15 minutes of deliberation Friday that a Buckhead tavern did not violate the civil rights of Joe Barry Carroll and an Atlanta attorney when they were ejected from the restaurant for refusing to relinquish
their seats to a couple of white women because they were black.

The plaintiffs attorney Jeffrey Bramlett had been seeking at least $3 million in damages for the humiliation and embarrassment he claims his clients suffered when a security guard escorted them from the Tavern at Phipps in August 2006. Defense lawyer Ernest Greer said the establishment was following a longstanding policy rooted in Southern hospitality, in which men routinely give up their bar seats for women when the bar becomes crowded.

“This incident didn’t happen because they were black,” Greer said. “This incident happened because Mr. Carroll and Mr. Shaw wanted to be treated better than anyone else that evening.” Carroll and Shaw however, argued the tavern used the policy to harass black patrons to keep the bar and its patio predominantly white.

Greg Greenbaum, CEO of the Tavern Corp., contended the policy was strictly to gain favor with female patrons, who would attract more men and keep the bar tabs high. Carroll said after the verdict he was disappointed in the outcome and that he still
believed race was at the root of his treatment at the bar five years ago.

“I’m disappointed in the outcome, but I had to go through the process,” Carroll said, “Their behavior was outrageous…..and they know that.”


Comments (7)
  1. Ken says:

    If they don’t want you, don’t support them. It’s called the “Cracker Barrel” law in my house. To many other places to eat at. Sometimes I miss segregation. We were a stronger race of people that didn’t take things for granted. Stop fighting just to seat next to the white man.

  2. Chris J.... says:

    I wonder…. If the 2 ladies needing a seat in the same crowded restaurant were black, would they have gotten the same “Southern Hospitality?” See many establishment within the Buckhead community tend to cater to those whom they believe to be better patrients. Case in point…. I sent my lady to Tiffany’s to get a necklace repaired that I had purchased for her. She decided to stop by while wearing our favorite football team’s jersey. Before she was helped, she was asked if her boyfriend or son played for the team. She wasn’t asked if she needed help. She made it perfectly clear that she had a man that like to purchase nice things for her because he could afford it. The point is that NOONE should be treated better than another. If the gentlement were asked to move, they were given the opportunity to say NO. If they were required to move (and the “Southern Hospitality” rule wasn’t posted), that’s preferrential treatment for one over another and in my book, that’s racism in today’s time. I firmly believe that racism is still alive an well, just in other forms that are defendable in court. When will our justice system and overall outlook change…..?

  3. Dale says:

    Maybe next time, JBC and his attorney buddy will consider spending their dollars in another community?

  4. Moni says:

    before they went to court – and being from the area – should have been aware of the “Southern Hospitality” law?
    why didn’t they send in a few black women of different hues; into the bar/restaurant and see if they would have taken a few seats from white men.

    Oh well – Ken had a good point – segregation – made blacks deal with each other from the ones who had college degree’s to the 40yr who could not read, where all on the same side of the track LOL ….

  5. E4Life says:

    That’s why I don’t spend ANY money in Buckhead or Atlantic Station..

  6. NYLSBlog says:

    New York Law School’s blog, “Legal as She is Spoke,” recently published a story that analyzes how Title II of the Civil Rights Act is applied when deciding whether there was any racial discrimination against a complainant. Take a look:

    If you enjoy the piece, please comment on our site, “like” the article, or “like” us on Facebook!

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