Lawsuit filed after June brawl inside Little Rock restaurant

Local News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A lawsuit has been filed against the owner of a Little Rock restaurant after a fight in June.

A video surfaced online in June showing the fight.

Witnesses at Saltgrass Steak House say it all stemmed from an argument over social distancing.

A Little Rock couple, on behalf of their attorney Mike Laux, filed the lawsuit Thursday in federal court.

The couple, Shayla Hooks and Tyrone Jackson, were sitting in the bar.

The lawyer representing Hooks and Jackson claims no one in a party bus group wore a face mask or practiced social distancing.

The suit claims the party bus group, visiting from Louisiana, asked the restaurant’s manager to sit near Hooks and Jackson but to make that work, they would have to sit within six feet of the couple.

Laux claims that is when the manager asked Hooks and Jackson if it was okay to ignore health guidelines mandated by the state.

The couple declined, they say it was for their safety, which grew tension between them and the group visiting from Louisiana.

“I have children, I have a family, I have an elderly mother. I want the restaurant and different people to know that when rules are put in place to help us, we should all be following them,” says Hooks.

The lawsuit claims the manager shifted the responsibility of enforcing the state’s COVID-19 guidelines onto Hooks and Jackson.

Laux says the party bus group made physical contact with Hooks and Jackson, which led to the brawl.

“We were trying to be as patient as possible. We just had enough. We were trying to help the economy basically, going out and going to have something to eat,” says Hooks.
Hooks says she was allegedly punched in the face, leaving a bruised eye.

A spokesperson for Landry’s, the parent company of Saltgrass Steak House, released the following statement Thursday afternoon:

“Saltgrass Steakhouse is a family oriented restaurant which serves hundreds of thousands of customers at 87 restaurants nationwide.  Our doors are open to customers of all races, ethnicities and national origins.  Unfortunately, on June 27 an assailant started a fight in our restaurant which began and ended with his violent acts, endangering numerous employees and innocent bystanders.  In a distasteful ploy the assailant and his counsel have attempted to extort a $2 million payment from Saltgrass, and have now filed a frivolous lawsuit and are conducting a media campaign to publicize the fight as an act of racial injustice caused by our family friendly restaurant.  Saltgrass had no role in this unfortunate incident.  Saltgrass Steakhouse supports the movement to end racial injustice and denounces intolerant and violent behavior of any kind in its restaurants.  Saltgrass will not compensate these individuals for a fight that began and ended with their violent acts.”

To see the filing, click here.

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