Kansas City Family Sues City for Dress Code
We've all been there. You head out to eat with family or friends to a place you don't select. You're wearing a nice shirt, maybe a pair of jeans and a jacket. You get to the front door and the sign says, "no jeans, sneakers, etc."
Wouldn't it be nice to sue an establishment for these silly rules?
Well, a family in Kansas City did just that. In this case, however, it went even further as an African-American family filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination and unfair enforcement of the dress code at Kansas City’s downtown entertainment district.
The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court, alleges that the family of Khiana Leapheart was discriminated against when a district nightclub barred them from entering while allowing similarly attired white patrons to enter.
While officials that operate the district (Cordish Co) have yet to comment, their have been comments made in the past that indicate to the dress code being enforced in a fair and non-discriminatory manner.
According to a report, the plaintiffs were celebrating a family reunion on Aug. 22 and tried to enter the Mosaic Lounge in the downtown entertainment district. At that time, it is alleged, according to the story, that Mosaic employees told one of the plaintiffs, J.D. Bell, that his attire did not conform to the district’s dress code, and all seven plaintiffs were denied entrance for allegedly failing to meet the dress code requirements.
“In fact, all seven plaintiffs met the requirements of the dress code in effect at Mosaic,” according to the lawsuit, reported KansasCity.com. “Plaintiffs observed Caucasians who were dressed similarly to plaintiffs enter the Mosaic Lounge with the permission of Mosaic’s employees.”
The lawsuit contends the dress code has a racially discriminatory impact on minorities, including African-Americans, and caused plaintiffs “inconvenience, insult, humiliation, embarrassment” in excess of $25,000, said the report.
The plaintiffs previously had filed a complaint with the Missouri Human Rights Commission, which notified the family in December that it could sue over the allegations.
But Cordish Co., the company that operates the district, filed its own lawsuit in late December accusing the human rights commission of “rubberstamping” discrimination complaints without doing the required investigation, according to the report. The Cordish lawsuit alleges that Bell was barred entry because his clothing was baggy and didn’t comply with the nightclub’s lawfully-established dress code, but that the rest of the family could have entered.
The family's attorney, Arthur Benson, told KansasCity.com that he did not think the Cordish lawsuit against the commission would have any bearing on his clients’ lawsuit.