Black Women Removed From Napa Valley Wine Train Reach Lawsuit Settlement

April 19, 2016  |  

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

Last Fall, the women of Sisters on the Reading Edge (SOTRE) filed a racial discrimination lawsuit against the Napa Valley Wine Train after they were removed for being “too loud.” Their lawsuit sought $11 million in damages, claiming the incident was triggered by racial bias; two out of the 11 women lost their jobs in the medical and finance industries because of the reports published about the mishap.

According to Mercury News, as of last week the lawsuit was settled between the two parties. An amicable settlement was reached through private mediation and the settlement amount will not be disclosed.

As we previously reported, the 18-year-old book club’s members were targeted when “a nearby passenger was annoyed by [their] banter” during their August wine tour. “[Lisa Johnson] a member of the SOTRE  told the Napa Register [that] a passenger told the group, “Well, this is not a bar.” The women responded, “Yes, it is a bar, a bar on wheels.” In an uploaded photo to Facebook, Johnson wrote in a caption: “We are a group of 12… if we all laugh at the same time it’s loud! When we get to St. Helena they are putting us off the train.” Although Johnson admitted her group was a bit boisterous, they were not belligerent. Johnson also noted a manager asked them to quiet down but they didn’t understand why the staff and other passengers were offended by their laughter.”

“We’re relieved that we were able to resolve the matter. I think it’s something we can put behind us,” Johnson said in regards to reaching a settlement with Napa Valley Wine Train. Patrick Wingfield, who represented Napa Valley Wine Train during the settlement gave no comment on the case.


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