Photo Credit:
Shangri-La Hotel owner Tamie Adaya (R) with her younger sister.

After five days of deliberation, a Santa Monica jury announced on Wednesday that Shangri-La Hotel owner Tamie Adaya committed anti-Semitic discrimination when she uttered her now-famous cry, “Get the [expletive] Jews out of my pool!

The jury found for the plaintiffs on multiple acts of intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, malice, fraud and oppression, and violations of the California Civil Rights Act.

The Hotel Shangri-La in Santa Monica, California.
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The 18 individual plaintiffs and one corporate plaintiff were awarded $1.2 million in compensatory damages, but the final amount Adaya and her company will owe is expected to go much higher, because the individual plaintiffs are entitled to punitive damages on many of the counts.  In addition, attorney James Turken is entitled to collect attorney’s fees from the defendant under the Unruh Act – California’s Civil Rights Act, which specifically outlaws discrimination based on age, sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, marital status, or sexual orientation.

Turken was quite emotional after the verdicts were read Wednesday evening.  He had just been through two of the most draining experiences of his life.  For one thing, Turken is a corporate defense litigator, and so to him this civil rights case, especially representing plaintiffs, was largely unfamiliar territory.  He took on the case, he told the Jewish Press, because when he learned the facts he became “outraged,” and because he was also “incredibly impressed” with the plaintiffs.

On Friday, when the case went to the jury for consideration, Turken went to the home of his younger brother.  He then sat by his side as Dr. David Turken was succumbing to defeat in his years-long battle with Leukemia.  Jim Turken said that his brother had been following the lawsuit closely, despite his dwindling strength.  Even at the very end, when David was drifting in and out of consciousness, he kept asking his brother whether the jury had come back yet.

Turken could not say enough good things about his clients, the plaintiffs.  He praised them on multiple occasions as “the very best we have to offer, these are young people trying to make a difference, who volunteer for all kinds of charities.”  He told The Jewish Press that “as a Jew, I took this case very personally, but the plaintiffs made it a pleasure – I was honored to represent them.”

Ari Ryan, the lead plaintiff in the case, explained why he felt it was so important to persevere through the long, tortuous legal proceeding. Ryan was one of the organizers of the Friends of the IDF event at the Shangri-La Hotel, and as the events unfolded, as the Jews with wristbands were being herded out of the pool, “the gravity of the situation weighed heavily on me.”  He said, “evil succeeds if good men and women don’t stand up and do what is right.”

Well, the Shangri-la plaintiffs did what was right, and in the end, their conviction and hard work were validated.

Tamie Adaya was not in the court room when the verdicts were read, but she is required to be present during the punitive damages phase which starts on Thursday.

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Lori Lowenthal Marcus is a contributor to the JewishPress.com. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com

35 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks @Charlie – it may not seem complicated but there were a lot of different claims and 19 different plaintiffs – the jury had to consider each claim in the context of each plaintiff. The lawyer told me the jury worked through breaks and over lunches. Go American justice system!!

  2. May the owners of the hotel bleed doubly – as is said in Hebrew, kaful. May their financial statements reflect in the red until they go bankrupt. May their Islamic, barbaric, anti-semitic 'hearts' wither from within. And, this is just for starters! And, kol ha'kavod to the plaintiffs. Being one who NEVER backs down, this is very heartwarming. Too many of our people are pathetic cowards. Onward and upward. NEVER let our haters win. NEVER.

  3. I know Ronald Reagan is a hero to a lot of people, but it is a fact that the two Democrats Reagan defeated for California were Brown (1966) and Unruh (1970) and that Reagan opposed the federal law making this kind of action illegal. (I don't know whether he had a position on the earlier California law.)

  4. Gabor Fränkl, please remove that post – that is totally inappropriate. I don't understand why you would do that, but please don't tell me, just delete your post immediately.

  5. Gabor Fränkl, please remove that post – that is totally inappropriate. I don't understand why you would do that, but please don't tell me, just delete your post immediately.

  6. WTH ? Try this….I know Hussein Obama is a Hero to a lot of mentally challenged people, but it is a fact the Jew-Hating Muslim has assaulted Israel verbally and with policies more than any other Country in the World including IRAN, and surrounding Israel with his newly installed Muslim Brotherhood Brothers in Egypt and other Countries in order to fulfill his Final solution for Six Million Jews…..

  7. I truly hope the place comes to RUIN and the owners loose their hold of the place. Good thing I was not there because so god help me I would have been IN THEIR FACE and probably arrested. But after I got out I would taken the offended family to dinner and apologized for humanity's continued hatred of Jews…somebody has to make amends if the Jew haters refuse to it.

  8. I don't wish anyone bad—the energy it takes to do so is toxic! Just feel sorry to have.
    such unfounded FEAR. To live with that in your heart and mind, is punishment enough–
    That, and of course it's nice to win a cash compensation…..just sayin……..

  9. @daryl, that was my first thought. "Why were they there? and on top of that, why an Israeli connect event. (It was a Friends of the IDF event)". My next thought was, "It is a good thing that this happened as it has shown that anti-semitic behavior will be punished". If all Jews did not go to places where anti-semitism exists and is tolerated, then the anti-semites will have won their battle and made certain their places are "Judein-ridden". We need to be proud as a people and stand up for our rights and feel free to go where we want.

  10. Yes- justice prevails again! Thank g-d. Maybe these Jew haters will think twice about their bigoted behavior- this is America, not the middle east, and we in America live by laws, not the rule of one dictator, or a kangaroo court. Shangra-la should be on every Jewish organization's list, designated VERBOTTEN!

  11. Helen, hate crimes laws require violence to person or property, or at least the threat of such. California's is unusually broad but it would still likely be difficult to get a conviction. Simple discrimination is a civil offense, not a crime.

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