A group of mostly black women who were booted off the popular Napa Valley Wine Train for laughing loudly have settled a racial discrimination lawsuit against the train company for an undisclosed amount, their attorney said Monday.
The women, all members of a book club, filed an $11 million lawsuit in federal court last October after cellphone video of the incident went viral. One of the women documented her experience on Facebook, prompting the hashtag #LaughingWhileBlack.
High-profile civil rights attorney Waukeen McCoy, who is representing the group, called the settlement — which is pending approval by the Wine Train Board — "amicable." McCoy said the board could vote on it as early as Monday.
The firm representing the Napa Valley Wine Train, Murphy Pearson Bradley & Feeney, did not immediately return requests for comment.
Lisa Renee Johnson, one of women in the suit, said that the matter was resolved on terms acceptable to all parties. "This is a relief for me and I'm looking forward to beginning my personal journey of reflection and healing," she said.
Ten of the 11 women involved in the #LaughingWhileBlack incident are black, and one is white.
The Wine Train’s CEO, Tony Giaccio, previously apologized to the women. He offered them a chance to be his guests on the train along with their friends and family and promised more diversity training for his staff.
The apology didn’t help, with many saying they would boycott the train for what they claimed was racist behavior.
The Napa Valley Wine Train was sold last September by the family of wine train founder Vincent Michael DeDomenico. Noble House Hotels & Resorts, a collection of luxury hotels and resorts, partnered with California-based real estate development and investment company Brooks Street to make the purchase.