$11M discrimination lawsuit against Napa Valley Wine Train begins

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- A hearing for a discrimination lawsuit against the Napa Valley Wine Train begins today in San Francisco.

Members of a mostly African American book club filed an $11 million suit against the company in October.

The women say they were kicked off the train for being too loud and claim they were slandered when a manager said they were being unruly and aggressive. They also believe that they were kicked off in part because they are black.

Lawyers for the train company want part of the suit dismissed. They say the manager's observation was a statement of opinion, not fact.

The women's lawyer says lies were also made up about why the 11 women were booted off the train.

"There was posting made by wine train company that said these women physically and verbally abused passengers on train," their lawyer said.

That Facebook post was later deleted and the CEO publicly apologized for the mistake. But the women say they were personally and professionally shamed. Two of the women said they even lost their jobs.

In a statement, Napa Valley Wine Train said it takes allegations of discrimination very seriously, adding that it's conducting its own investigation and has hired a former FBI agent to look into the matter.
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