Seven months after an African-American teen from Larchmont sued Matsumoto for racial discrimination and picketed with friends outside the Larchmont Avenue restaurant, the parties have settled out of court, according to lawyers for both sides.
Abby Brammer, now 17 and a freshman college student, will receive a financial award in return for dropping her federal civil rights suit. She had asserted that Matsumoto’s manager, Marty Chan (listed as Marty Doe in the filing), had been prepared to hire her part-time as the restaurant’s greeter, but changed his mind when he saw she was black. He claimed she did not have the right demeanor for the job. (See: Hiring Discrimination at Matsumoto? Suit, Protest & Possible Settlement.)
The settlement was concluded earlier this month and announced on Friday, January 29, by Ms. Brammer’s attorney, Larchmont resident Josh Friedman. Included was a statement clearing Ms. Brammer’s backers to once again patronize the restaurant:
“Those who stayed away in support of her cause may return with a clear conscience,” the statement read. “Ms Brammer thanks Larchmont, Mamaroneck and all of her friends for their support which allowed her to achieve her goal of insuring that racial discrimination will not be tolerated in our community.”
Details of the settlement are being withheld pending approval by a judge, which is required when a minor is involved. Attorneys for both sides characterized the sums involved as “nominal.”
The restaurant’s lawyer, Benjamin B. Xue, stressed that “no one admitted any wrong doing.” His clients agreed to pay in order “to avoid the cost of prolonged litigation.”
However, they also agreed to be “prohibited permanently from discriminating in employment on the basis of race” and to three years of court supervision over the injunction.
This was not problem, indicated Mr. Xue. “My clients have always been doing that [not discriminating] and will continue to make their best effort to hire a diverse work force.”
“I’m hoping that the cloud over the restaurant will clear now that the settlement has been reached,” said Mr. Xue. “”The business suffered tremendously because of the boycott.”