Nigerians Skip Court In Own Suit With Bick
The whereabouts of two Harvard graduates from Nigeria who failed to appear in court Monday to settle their discrimination suit against Hayes-Bickford remain a mystery.
Unless their lawyer can locate Uchenna C. Nwoosa '64 and Olufemi Okorammu '63, proceedings in the Third United States District Court will not continue. The restaurant chain will in effect be cleared of the $20,000 suit which the Nigerians brought against it last summer.
The suit charges that the Harvard Square branch discriminated against Nwoosa and Okorammu by serving them food on a dirty tray on May 24, 1964. When the Nigerians complained to the manager, he replied that "you don't get such good things in your home country," Nwoosu reported later.
The Nigerians then called the police for assistance. The manager told the six officers who came that he no longer wanted to serve the students, and asked to have them evicted. The two refused to leave and, according to the suit, were then "detained and imprisoned for a long period of time on the false and trumped-up charges of Trespassing and Breach of the Peace."
The case was later dismissed because the students had not been allowed by the Cambridge police to make a telephone call within an hour after the arrest, a requirement of Massachusetts law.
The Nigerians brought the discrimination suit against the restaurant under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Nwoosa and Okorammu, in the language of the suit, "suffered anguish of mind and humiliation" and "a great deal of pain."
The Missing Pair
After a non-suit, failure of the plaintiff to come to court, a case automatically goes to judgment, which means that the plaintiffs are assessed for the small costs incurred by the incompleted trial. This may well be easier said than done in the case of the missing pair, an attorney for Hayes-Bickford commented last night.
A retrial can be brought with little effort if the two turn up in the eight or ten days before the case goes to judgment, the Nigerians' lawyer explained yesterday. "I sure would love to know where they are," he said.