Actor alleges shame, mental suffering
Home Depot USA has responded to a racial profiling lawsuit filed against the home improvement chain by “Fast & Furious” franchise star Tyrese Gibson, arguing in new court papers that the allegations are unsupported by evidence according to store surveillance footage and that the case should be dismissed.
Gibson’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges civil rights violations and negligent hiring, supervision and retention. Two of the 44-year-old singer/actor’s construction workers, Eric Mora and Manual Hernandez, also are plaintiffs in the suit, which seeks more than $1 million in compensatory damages, the amount the suit maintains Gibson has spent over time at Home Depot. Gibson also seeks punitive damages.
But in court papers filed on Sept. 28 with Judge Upinder S. Kalra, Home Depot lawyers cite numerous defenses, including that the company’s actions were taken “in good faith, in accordance with business necessity, for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons.”
Home Depot “further denies any and all wrongful conduct, whether or not alleged in the complaint.” Home Depot lawyers further argue in their court papers while also denying that the plaintiffs are entitled to punitive damages.
“As confirmed by store video surveillance, plaintiff Gibson was not present at the time the transaction was totaled,” according to Home Depot attorneys, who further state that the plaintiffs should “take nothing” and that their lawsuit should be dismissed “with prejudice,” meaning it could not be refiled.
But according to the suit filed Aug. 9, Gibson, “one of the most recognizable Black actors and musicians in the United States, and his associates…experienced outrageous discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling first-hand inside the Home Depot retail store in West Hills.”
Home Depot “needs to understand that there are consequences for discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling,” the suit further states.
Gibson and the other plaintiffs are “committed to doing their part to advance civil rights and put an end to the despicable practice of discriminatory mistreatment and consumer racial profiling at the Home Depot, and, by extension, all retail stores,” the suit states.
Gibson and his workers went to the Victory Boulevard store on Feb. 11, where Gibson, worried his fame could cause a distraction, had his construction workers pay for the items the three selected with his credit card while he went to his car, the suit states. However, Gibson returned to the store when the cashier declined to complete the transaction, according to the suit.
The cashier “gave no reasonable explanation other than repeating store policy and demanded to see a form of identification,” according to the suit.
The manager refused to speak with Gibson and the transaction was completed only after a heated discussion with the cashier, according to the suit, which alleges the actions of the cashier and manager were racially motivated.
“There is no other plausible explanation for the mistreatment of plaintiffs,” the suit states.
Gibson and his fellow plaintiffs have all suffered shame, humiliation and mental suffering, the complaint alleges.