Courts & Crime

African-American family sues over nightclub dress code

Members of an African-American family have filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination and unfair enforcement of the dress code at a downtown Kansas City, Mo., entertainment district.

The lawsuit, filed Thursday in Jackson County Circuit Court, says Khiana Leapheart and other members of her family were discriminated against when a district nightclub barred them from entering while allowing similarly attired white patrons to enter.

Officials with the Cordish Co., which operates the district, denied the allegations.

"The plaintiffs' claims are baseless and we are confident the court will so conclude," said Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Power & Light District.

Attorney Arthur Benson, representing the family, said today that his clients would have no further comment.

According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs were celebrating a family reunion on the evening of Aug. 22 and tried to enter the Mosaic Lounge in the downtown entertainment district. The lawsuit alleges that Mosaic employees told one of the plaintiffs, J.D. Bell, that his attire did not conform to the district's dress code, and all seven plaintiffs were denied entrance for allegedly failing to meet the dress code requirements.

"In fact, all seven plaintiffs met the requirements of the dress code in effect at Mosaic," the lawsuit says. "Plaintiffs observed Caucasians who were dressed similarly to plaintiffs enter the Mosaic Lounge with the permission of Mosaic’s employees."


Related stories from McClatchy DC