Women file $11 million lawsuit against Napa Valley Wine Train

Byby Janet O KGO logo
Friday, October 2, 2015
Women file $11M lawsuit against Napa Valley Wine Train
A group of women kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train for being too loud are now planning to file an $11 million lawsuit against the company.

NAPA, Calif. (KGO) -- A group of African-American women and their attorney announced Thursday they are suing the Napa Valley wine train for $11 million.

The women were kicked off the train in August and say it was in part because they are black.

The women say their reputation has been irreparably damaged. The group says the lawsuit is being filed to hold management accountable so that no one is ever victimized again.

San Francisco civil rights attorney Waukeen McCoy says his clients were unfairly kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train because they're black.

"It felt like we were being singled out because there were others doing exact same thing we were doing," said Lisa Johnson, a plaintiff in the case.

McCoy said if that wasn't bad enough lies were 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," McCoy 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.

Debbie Reynolds said she couldn't go into details about the train.

"Can't get into that right now, but they did bring up Napa Valley Wine Train," Reynolds said.

The group is now suing Napa Valley Wine Train, which was recently bought by another company for $11 million.

The suit alleges racial discrimination, libel, defamation and breach of contract.

Linda Carlson was the only non-black member of the book club.

"No one should ever have to experience what we did that day," Carlson said. "I truly feel like I know what it feels like to be black woman."

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.