Friedlander v. Waroge Met, Ltd. d/b/a/ Sizzler
On September 18, 2010, Liza Friedlander and two friends went to a Sizzler restaurant in Forest Hills, New York, for brunch. The Sizzler manager confronted Friedlander angrily, yelling homophobic slurs in front of the other patrons and physically assaulted her. Other Sizzler patrons joined in, verbally attacking Friedlander with homophobic and hate-filled language and threatening her with sexual assault. After police arrived, a battered Friedlander was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital.
Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit on Friedlander's behalf against Waroge Met, Ltd., the company that owns and operates Sizzler, as well as the manager and several patrons involved in the incident. In the suit, Lambda Legal argued that the defendants violated the New York City and State civil and human rights laws because Friedlander was violently attacked and discriminated against based on her actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex, in a place of public accommodation. This case was the first test of the newly enacted bias crime law, passed in August 2010, to hold individuals accountable for anti-LGBT violence or intimidation.
In June 2012, the court entered a judgment against the defendant Sizzler Restaurant 0489 and its manager, defendant Edgar Orellana, after those defendants offered to allow a judgment to be taken against them.
Mary Eaton, Roger Netzer, Jordan Hicks and Erin McLeod of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP