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Three women say Wood Village clerk refused to serve them because of their race

COURTESY PHOTO: JASON KAFOURY - Marquita Corley

COURTESY PHOTO: JASON KAFOURY - Ramona Austin

COURTESY PHOTO: JASON KAFOURY - Terra Hartley

Three Black shoppers are filing a $600,000 lawsuit against Walmart after they said an employee at the Wood Village store declined to serve them because of their race.

Ramona Austin, Terra Hartley and Marquita Corley's suit says Walmart and an employee Evelyn Johannesen discriminated against them because they are Black.

The civil suit, marked as filed Wednesday, Oct. 14, in Multnomah County Circuit Court requests $600,000 in damages with the provision that more may be asked for later.

In the June 23 incident, the three shoppers went to the store's makeup counter to make purchases and the suit said clerk Johannesen refused to serve them and asked, "What are you guys doing in Troutdale, anyway?"

Their lawyer, Jason Kafoury, said Johannesen initially said she could not serve the three because there were more than four people in line, even though there were only the three.

Kafoury said another Walmart employee said Johannesen had a history of problems with Black customers.

As a result of the "discrimination, plaintiffs suffered, continue to suffer and may permanently suffer from feelings of racial stigmatization, embarrassment, humiliation, anger, indignity and shame."

Each of the shoppers is asking for noneconomic damages of $200,000 and an amount for punitive damages that will be disclosed later.

Kafoury, of the firm Kafoury & McDougal, also filed three other "shopping while Black" lawsuits against two Portland businesses and a Tanasbourne business. Each suit claims that Black customers were denied service by white employees because they are Black.

Walmart did not answer a query for comment on the suit.


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