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RumbergerKirk Partner Suzanne A. Singer Wins Case For International House Of Pancakes

RumbergerKirk Partner Suzanne A. Singer Wins Case For International House Of Pancakes

Miami office

Suzanne A. Singer, a partner with RumbergerKirk in Miami, recently won a defense verdict in Federal Court in and for the Southern District of Florida, for FMS Management Systems, Inc. (FMS), owner and operator of IHOP restaurants throughout the State of Florida.

FMS was sued by three African-American women who brought forth a public accommodation discrimination complaint. The plaintiffs filed a claim stating that they were denied service on the basis of their race when an IHOP server, after initially being pleasant and professional, stated, “I can’t wait on those types of people.” They further argued that similarly situated patrons outside the protected class were, in fact, given service.

In trial, Singer contended that the plaintiffs were victims of poor service, not racial discrimination. Singer further pointed out that FMS’ conducted a prompt investigation which revealed that the server become frustrated and flustered when asked too many questions and was unable to handle the pressure of a busy lunch hour rush. On the date of the incident, the server was removed from the floor and sent home. Thereafter, she was suspended pending an investigation and fired several days later. Also, Singer provided the court with the restaurant’s diversity training videotape, as well as a copy of the employee handbook, which highlighted FMS’s zero-tolerance policy for any and all forms of discrimination.

The jury of eight men and women agreed with Singer’s arguments and ruled in favor of the defendant.


RumbergerKirk provides litigation and counseling services in a wide range of civil practice areas including products liability, commercial litigation, intellectual property, environmental, employment, insurance, professional liability, health care and administrative law. Offices are located in Orlando, Tampa, Miami, Tallahassee and Birmingham, Alabama.