Black Women Kicked Off Napa Valley Wine Train For Laughing File $11 Million Racial Discrimination Lawsuit

- By Bossip Staff

Black Women Kicked Off Napa Valley Wine Train File $11 Million Lawsuit

Members of a mostly Black book club, booted from the Napa Valley Wine Train in August after they were accused of loudly laughing, sued the train’s owners for racial discrimination Thursday, charging they were humiliated in front of other passengers and defamed on social media.

Via SF Gate:

Two of the 11 women said the ordeal caused them to lose their jobs.

“Blacks are still being treated differently in America,” attorney Waukeen McCoy said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit, filed in federal court in San Francisco. It seeks $11 million in damages, $1 million for each of the plaintiffs — 10 African Americans and one white woman.

“I truly now know how it feels to be a black woman,” said the white plaintiff, Linda Carlson, 55, a mail carrier in Contra Costa County. Along with the rest of the group, she was escorted off the train, past rows of other passengers, and handed over to a waiting police officer.

The women, members of a book club called Sistahs on the Reading Edge, boarded the train in Napa on Aug. 22 for their first round-trip through Wine Country. They said they were laughing and having a good time, occasionally chatting with other passengers, when a train manager, Anna Marquinn, approached and asked them to lower their voices.

The women said Marquinn returned a little later and warned them they would be removed from the train if they didn’t pipe down.

The women, members of a book club called Sistahs on the Reading Edge, boarded the train in Napa on Aug. 22 for their first round-trip through Wine Country. They said they were laughing and having a good time, occasionally chatting with other passengers, when a train manager, Anna Marquinn, approached and asked them to lower their voices.

Book-club member Lisa Johnson, 47, a manager at a family service agency in Concord, said she told Marquinn they weren’t behaving any differently than other passengers and were being singled out because of their race. She said Marquinn denied any racist motives and identified herself as Latina.

As a result, he asserted, two of the plaintiffs lost their jobs — Allisa Carr, 48, of Antioch, a manager at a local bank, and Debbie Reynolds, 49, also of Antioch, a hospital nurse.

McCoy and the two women declined to discuss the dismissals or say whether their employers had mentioned the train incident. But the attorney said news of their removal had traveled quickly, and “we don’t think it was a coincidence” that they were terminated soon afterward.

Carlson said the publicity led to a heartbreaking moment when her 5-year-old granddaughter, who had heard media reports, told her, “You were being very disrespectful to those people on the train.”

To win their case, the women would have to prove that they were singled out because of their race and not their behavior. A Wine Train spokeswoman has said guests are removed from the train about once a month.

Do you think the women should get the $11 million?

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