A new civil rights case has been filed against Apple Inc. in Maryland's District Court, Montgomery. The two Plaintiffs in this case are Deandre Simmons and Darius Green from the State of Maryland. The two are identified in the lawsuit as being "African American/Black citizens." They're suing Apple for being subjected to racial profiling at an Apple Store in Maryland.
What do the Plaintiffs want in this case? Plaintiffs Simmons and Green each want Apple to pay them 1 million dollars each for compensatory damages and 10 million in punitive damages for Apple's willful and malicious conduct to serve as an example to prevent a repetition of such conduct in the future.
Overview of the Case
The lawsuit claims that "Plaintiffs were subjected to race discrimination while shopping and purchasing Apple, Inc. products at the Apple Store located at 4860 Bethesda Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20814 and denied the privileges afforded to White and non-Black/African American customers and shoppers.
Plaintiffs were racially profiled before, during and after the purchase of their Apple products at the location in question, were subjected to unlawful detention by local authorities at the behest of Apple for appearing "suspicious" before, during and after their purchase of Apple Store products, and were subjected to racial profiling in violation of their constitutional rights when the Apple Store employees called 911 to report two suspicious black men at the store and summoned the local police department to the location."
Defendant/Apple "is legally responsible for the incidents, injuries, and damages set forth herein, and Defendant proximately caused the incident, injuries, and damages by reason of their negligence, negligent supervision, training, management or control, violation of constitutional rights, or by reason of other personal, vicarious, or imputed negligence, or fault, whether based on agency, employment, control, whether severally or jointly, or whether based on any other act or omission.
Defendant is legally responsible for, the incidents, unlawful conduct, injuries, and damages alleged by participating in the unlawful conduct, or acting jointly or conspiring with others to act, by authorizing or allowing, explicitly or implicitly, policies, plans, customs, practices, actions, or omissions that led to the unlawful conduct, by failing to take action to prevent the unlawful conduct, by failing or refusing to initiate and maintain adequate training or supervision, and thus constituting deliberate indifference to Plaintiff s rights, and by ratifying the unlawful conduct that occurred by agents and officers under their direction and control, including failing to take remedial or disciplinary action.
Plaintiffs are informed and believe and therefore alleges that at all times mentioned in this Complaint, Defendant's employees were the agents, servants, joint ventures, partners, and/or co-conspirators of Defendant Apple Inc. and that at all times, each of Defendant's employees and/or agents was acting within the course and scope of that relationship with Defendant Apple Inc..
Plaintiffs are informed and believe, and therefore allege, that the violations of the Plaintiffs' constitutional rights complained of herein were intentional and or negligently and caused by customs, policies, and/or practices of authorized policymakers of Apple, Inc. and other supervisory officials of Apple, Inc., which encouraged, authorized, directed, condoned, and/or ratified the unconstitutional and unlawful conduct complained of in this Complaint. These customs, policies, and/or practices were the moving force behind the violations alleged, and include, but are not limited to intentionally and systematic racial discrimination, failing to maintain adequate policies, failing to adequately train, supervise, and control its employees, failing to investigate and impose discipline on employees who employ discriminatory methods and behavior against African American customers, and failing to adopt other remedial measures and policies to ensure that such constitutional violations do not recur.
Defendants have engaged in a pattern and practice of civil rights violations and other tortious conduct at its Bethesda, Maryland location, and other locations, both domestically and internationally, which has been carried out by its employees and agents within the scope of its agents employment; and or the Defendant's employees have acted intentionally in violation of civil rights laws design to protect citizens against such discriminatory behavior. These civil rights violations by Apple Store employees have occurred with the knowledge and acquiescence of Apple, Inc. at the highest corporate management levels.
The court document presents "The Facts" according to the Plaintiffs Deandre Simmons and Darius Green as follows:
On June 17, 2016, at approximately 5:00 p.m. the Plaintiffs, two Apple account holders, entered the Apple Store located at 4860 Bethesda Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20814, to purchase two new cellphones. The Plaintiffs followed proper Apple Store protocol and placed their names on a "list" of customers in need of assistance. The Plaintiffs waited in the store until an employee arrived to assist them. While waiting for their names to be called pursuant to Apple's protocol and procedure, the Plaintiffs were subjected to constant stares and glares by Apple Store employees, though the Plaintiffs did not understand the need for such stares and glares, as the Plaintiffs had done nothing wrong and had committed no criminal act.
At approximately 5:19 pm, the Plaintiffs names were called and they were called to the purchasing counter. While at the counter, the Plaintiff provided their Apple and Verizon Store account information and requested to purchase two iPhone 6s, 64GB model cellphones. The Apple Store employees retrieved two cellphones from their stock. Both Plaintiffs then purchased the cellphones for $793.94 each. Upon information and belief, the Apple Store employees verified the validity of their accounts prior to the Plaintiffs being called to the purchasing counter.
After spending almost $1600 at the Apple Store, the Plaintiffs began walking toward the door of the Apple Store location. Upon opening the store door to exit, the Plaintiffs were accosted by two uniformed Montgomery County Sherriff s Department officers who detained them for almost an hour in front of the Apple Store location. The Plaintiffs were tackled and slammed to the ground by the officers who then required the Plaintiffs to sit on the ground with the heat of the sun pounding upon their bodies, as passers-by looked upon them. The Plaintiffs were humiliated and felt ridiculed and harassed. The Plaintiffs were informed by their detaining officers that the Apple Store employees called to report "suspicious" persons at the location and that the two Plaintiffs were the individuals reported by the Apple Store employees to have been engaged in or possibly engaged in fraudulent activity while at the Apple Store. However, the Plaintiffs had engaged in no such behavior and were not charged with any criminal offense against Apple after being unlawfully targeted and detained for almost an hour in front of the Apple Store location at Apple, Inc.'s direction.
Upon information and belief, the Defendant has previously been accused, both domestically and internationally, of racial discrimination at its Apple Store locations, and a string of similar complaints suggest a pattern of racially biased policies and practices that have systemically and systematically resulted in widespread discrimination against African Americans/Black customers and or shoppers.
Upon information and belief, the ongoing policies and practices of the Defendant corporation denied the Plaintiffs the full and equal benefit of all laws, as enjoyed by non-African Americans/Black customers and shoppers; that African Americans/Black customers are disproportionately suspected of wrongdoing with no or insufficient probable cause, and are more likely to be denigrated, humiliated, and accused of criminal activity even in the absence of such behavior or reasonable basis to make such claims.
As a direct and proximate cause of the Defendant and its employees' actions, the Plaintiffs have suffered irreparable loss and injury, including but not limited to deprivation of civil rights protected by the Constitution, economic loss, mental anguish, feelings of distrust, public humiliation and denigration, loss of sleep, and loss of enjoyment of life and daily activity.
The Plaintiffs, therefore, seek to be made whole and seek compensatory and punitive damages for injuries sustained as a result of the Defendant's intentional, reckless, malicious, willful and wanton behavior that showed reckless disregard for the Plaintiffs' rights at that state and federal levels."
The Seven Counts Filed against Apple
Violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 1981(Contracts Clause)
Violation of 42 U.S. Code Section 1981 (Equal Benefits Clause)
Violation of 42 U.S. Code Section 1982 [Property Rights of Citizens]
Violation of 42 U.S.C. Section 1985(3) (Deprivation of Rights and Privileges- Conspiracy Clause)
(Violation of Maryland State Civil Rights Law) (MSHRL Article, §20-304, Annotated Code of Maryland)
(Negligent Hiring, Training, Retention and Supervision)
The lawsuit was filed on March 03, 2017 in Maryland District Court. The Presiding Judge is noted as being Roger W. Titus.