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Settlement reached in suit against TGI Fridays

TawanStaples (far right) Gary holds up sign during protest against TGIF restaurant Hobart Saturday June 1 2013. The protest is

Tawana Staples (far right) of Gary holds up a sign during the protest against TGIF restaurant in Hobart on Saturday June 1, 2013. The protest is in response to TGIF for turning away 8th grade students from Thea Bowman Leadership Academy who were celebrating their graduation. | Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 27, 2014 6:24AM



A group of Thea Bowman Leadership Academy students and their parents who sued TGI Fridays a year ago on claims they were racially discriminated against when they weren’t allowed to eat there has settled with the company, records show.

Both sides filed a motion to dismiss the case on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Hammond, with both sides to pay their own legal fees.

No details of a settlement were available, and both sides declined to comment. A note from the court mediator, however, says that they reached a settlement in February.

The group of 18 students, all 14 or 15 years old at the time, were on dates for a dance June 1, 2012, and decided afterward to eat at the TGI Fridays in Hobart. The restaurant had a policy that anyone younger than 21 years old had to be with an adult after 9 p.m.

When the parents arrived after parking their cars, however, the manager on duty still wouldn’t let them stay. They were instead told that each child needed a guardian, instead of per couple, according to the original lawsuit.

However, a parent says she was later told by another manager that they did not require one parent for each child and that the restaurant actually had seated other child couples who had one parent with them.

The company did not comment at the time of the suit but said it was looking into the matter.



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