Women labeled 'fat girls' lawyer up

2:35 PM, Dec 12, 2012   |    comments
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STOCKTON, Calif. -- When a Stockton restaurant labeled three customers "Fat Girls" on their bill, it set off a firestorm that has people around the world weighing in.

The women of The View offered their two cents on what happened to Christina Duran, Christina Huerta and Isabel Robles at the Cameo Club Casino last week.

"After three women ate in a California casino restaurant, they received their bill and noticed that their waiter identified them as, quote, "Fat Girls," Whoopi Goldberg told her audience.

"The reason they said they were doing it is 'cause he had a lot of customers or whoever it was and needed to identify which customer got the hamburger or so forth, but unfortunately, you know, you just don't put it on the receipt," Barbara Walters added.

The story has drawn reactions from across the world and prompted public apologies from the business. Even though the restaurant eventually agreed to pay the full tab, the first attempts to make amends drew widespread criticism too.

"He was like, I'll give you a discount on your meal, and he started off by 25 percent," Christina Huerta said describing the manager's initial response to the rude receipt.

"How much, 50 or 20 percent, so if they called them whores, they would get 75 percent off?" Joy Behar asked on The View.

All the coverage has also drawn the attention of attorneys. Huerta said she and her friends have retained counsel and are considering a lawsuit, but they haven't made up their minds yet.

Legal expert Bill Portanova believes the women could have an uphill battle.

"It's hard to imagine a case like this causing such injury that it justifies a trial," Portanova said.

This isn't the first time a case like this has been put to the test.

"It's happened before at Papa John's, they fired an employee because they wrote, 'Lady Chinky Eyes' on the receipt," Sherri Shepherd said on The View.

News 10 found several similar cases of insulting receipts including one from a southern California steakhouse that reportedly resulted in the settlement of a federal lawsuit. However, each of these cases raised questions of racial discrimination, and Portanova said that makes a big difference.

"So far being fat is not a constitutionally-protected status," Portanova said.

Nonetheless, Portanova points out the women could sue in state court for intentional infliction of emotional distress. At that point, it could all come down to who ends up on the jury.

"It's a professionalism issue. I wish I would walk into the Cheesecake Factory and see, 'Fat Girl With Crazy Wig' on the receipt," Shepherd said on The View.

"If I was representing a business that had this ugly episode, I would advise them, pay the settlement and end this thing before you generate another news story," Portanova said.

(KXTV Sacramento)

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