The Washington Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs recently honored Patton Boggs with a 2011 Outstanding Achievement Award during its annual Wiley A. Branton Awards Luncheon held in Washington, DC on June 16. The firm received the recognition because of its involvement in a race discrimination case. Patton Boggs partner and general counsel Charles Talisman and of counsel Todd Cranford teamed up with associates Samantha Petrich and Chris Wenger, as well as paralegal manager William James, on the case to settle race discrimination claims against the Sea Horn Motel in Myrtle Beach, SC on behalf of the NAACP and several of its members.
The plaintiffs alleged that the motel's owners had illegally refused to rent rooms to black bikers during what is known as "Black Bike Week," an annual event that draws thousands of African Americans to the Myrtle Beach area, while simultaneously permitting white guests to stay at the motel for free. After extensive settlement discussions, the motel owners agreed to a settlement that requires them to pay damages and attorney's fees as well as agree to cease all discriminatory practices and undertake advertising intended to encourage "Black Bike Week" visitors to stay at the Sea Horn Motel in the future.
Photo Caption: From left to right, Patton Boggs' Todd Cranford, Samantha Petrich, William James (standing) Chris Wenger and Charles Talisman (seated).