A pro bono Pepper Hamilton team led by Jeremy D. Frey successfully entered into a settlement with the city of Philadelphia on behalf of their clients — 23 Chinese-American restaurant owners who sued the city, alleging that its 11 p.m. ordinance was discriminatory against their takeout businesses. The matter originated after a study conducted by Philadelphia Councilman David Oh found that nearly all of the businesses cited for violations of the ordinance were Chinese takeout restaurants.
The settlement agreement provides for payment of $265,000 to the plaintiffs to compensate them for their out-of-pocket expenses and disruption brought to their lives and businesses. The city also agreed to conduct additional police training and agreed not to enforce the ordinance against any parties in the future.
A story in The Philadelphia Inquirer — “Philadelphia suspends 11 p.m. closing ordinance; city will pay $265,000 to Chinese takeouts” — covered the settlement and the work of Pepper Hamilton, including associate Ying Zeng, and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund on the case.
“The critical fact in this case is clear and dramatic and probative. [Civil violation notices] were issued to Chinese people, in their Chinese takeout restaurants, in jaw-dropping percentages," Mr. Frey said.