Jewish Plaintiffs Win Discrimination Suit Against California Hotel

Court finds that Shangri-La hotel owner brought end to pool party held by young Jews; plaintiffs also allege that hotel owner made comments about wanting to remove the '[expletive] Jews' from hotel or pool.

The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica and its owner illegally discriminated against a group of young Jews, a jury in a California Superior Court found on Aug. 15.

The verdict in this closely watched case was read late Wednesday afternoon, at the end of the fifth full day of deliberation by the jury. The jury found that the hotel and its part-owner, Tehmina Adaya, had violated California state law when Adaya and members of her staff brought to an end a party that the plaintiffs had been holding at the hotel’s pool in July 2010. The plaintiffs also alleged that Adaya had made comments about wanting to remove “the [expletive] Jews” from the hotel or the pool.

The jury also decided that almost every one of the 18 individual plaintiffs had suffered negligent emotional distress and that most had also suffered intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

They ordered Adaya and the hotel to pay damages and statutory penalties to each individual plaintiff, in differing amounts. For some individual plaintiffs, the sums added up to more than $100,000; the total amount awarded to the group was not announced in court, but appeared to be in excess of $1 million.