Santa Monica, CA – Trial Gets Underway In Discrimination Lawsuit Against Hotel Shangri-La

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    Santa Monica, CA – What began as a gathering of young professionals attending a charitable event at the Hotel Shangri-La on July 11, 2010 in support of the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces, soon became a civil rights lawsuit alleging anti-Semitism and discrimination in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

    Approximately 20 individuals filed suit in December 2010, seeking more than $1 million in damages. The plaintiffs allege that Shangri-La owner and co-defendant, Tehmina Adaya, 48, a Muslim woman of Pakistani descent, violated their civil rights under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. The Unruh Civil Rights Act states that a business – including hotels – may not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, religion, color, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation. The allegations have been vehemently denied by Ms. Adaya and her co-defendant, Indus Investments, Inc., the corporate owner and operator of the Shangri-La.

    The event, a pool party at the hotel, was intended to raise money to send children of departed Israeli soldiers to summer camp. It began at 11 AM, but came to an abrupt end shortly thereafter. According to published accounts in both the New York Times (http://nyti.ms/MhBOWq) and the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/MhBRBD), hotel personnel instructed the group that they needed to vacate the pool and hot tub, remove their banners and literature, and stop distributing group T-shirts immediately. Allegedly, hotel employees were instructed by Ms. Adaya to, “shut it down, claiming it was unauthorized.” One employee stated that Ms. Adaya told him on the day of the event, “I don’t want…any Jews in my pool.”.

    Scott Paletz, a plaintiff to the lawsuit and owner of Platinum Events which coordinated the pool party in conjunction with hotel staff, testified that a hotel employee told him, “If Ms. Adaya’s investors, ‘who are Muslims, found out about the pro-Israeli event,’ they would cut her off.”. Mr. Paletz also testified that the order to vacate the hotel grounds was delivered along with a disparaging barb against Jews.

    Court papers show that Ms. Adaya claims that the July event was an unscheduled one, and that the attendees were trespassing on hotel premises. The defendants requested a jury trial which began yesterday.


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