U.S. Magistrate Janet King criticized former basketball Joe Barry Carroll and attorney Joseph Shaw for making unsubstantiated allegations in their legal briefs and threw out two legal claims pursued by Carroll but also turned down the request by the Tavern at Phipps to throw out accusations the restaurant violated civil rights public accommodation laws against the two men, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The case now goes to U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash, pleasing one of Carroll's lawyers, Gerry Weber, the newspaper said Tuesday.
"The judge's order confirms what we've said all along -- that the Tavern has an ingrained practice of discrimination against African-Americans," Weber said. "The judge recognized that discrimination in restaurants today is more subtle than the lunch-counter cases of the '60s, but just as wrong."
The case goes back to Aug. 11, 2006, when Carroll and Shaw met for drinks and appetizers at the Tavern's bar and subsequently declined when asked to vacate their seats for two white women, the newspaper said.
Heather Dennis, an operating partner, called an off-duty Atlanta police officer who escorted Carroll and Shaw out of the bar.
Although King said she found no direct evidence of racial discrimination, she did find enough circumstantial evidence to allow a jury to decide the Tavern's motivation for removing Carroll and Shaw.
In pre-trial testimony the Tavern's own partner, Dennis, said management wanted "generally white, more white people" at the restaurant's bar, the Journal-Constitution reported.
A former employee testified to King that management told her desired clientele for the bar were "white businessmen and buxom, blond women."
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