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Class-action status sought for Denny's lawsuit


In an amended complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, lawyers for six black Secret Service agents suing Denny's Inc. for alleged discrimination are seeking to add another 160 people to the case and make it a class-action suit.

The new filing contains several new allegations against the Denny's restaurant in Annapolis that sparked the suit, along with charges against outlets in Perry Hall, Gaithersburg, Waldorf, Lanham, Greenbelt and Clinton in Maryland, and outlets in Arizona, Florida, Illinois and Connecticut. The complainants all say they were treated poorly because they are black.

Leroy E. Snyder, one of the Secret Service agents, said yesterday that the amended complaint shows "[our] case is not just an isolated case."

"It's an effort on their part to broaden the case, but that hasn't happened yet," said Irwin Goldbloom, a lawyer representing Spartansburg, S.C.-based Flagstar Cos. Inc., Denny's parent company. Flagstar is also a defendant.

The agents filed suit against Denny's on May 24, alleging they were not served breakfast at the restaurant on West Street in Annapolis while their white colleagues received their meals promptly. The agents were in Annapolis to provide security for President Clinton's April 1 visit.

In one of the new allegations against the Annapolis restaurant, Howard Ferguson of Baltimore said that he waited 45 minutes to get a tuna fish sandwich for takeout last Jan. 13, but the waitress never brought his order. He said he told the waitress, before leaving in disgust: "This is totally inappropriate in 1993." He said she responded coldly: "I know what year it is."

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