CHARLESTON – A Kanawha County woman is suing over claims she and a friend were refused service at a Best Buy store over race.
Tera Ross filed a lawsuit Aug. 18 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Best Buy Co. Inc. and William Holman, citing malicious insults.
According to the complaint, Ross – who is white and Native American – joined companion Christopher Lewis, who is black and a plaintiff in a related action previously reported in The West Virginia Record, to buy a gaming system at the Best Buy in South Charleston on Feb. 7, when Holman, a manager at the store, refused to complete the transaction and forced the pair to leave, following them out of the store while uttering racial slurs at Ross' companion.
"Holman, along with store security, acting in a discriminatory and racist manner, then forced Mr. Lewis and Ms. Ross to leave the Best Buy store and followed them out of the store," the complaint states. "Holman uttered racially discriminatory and insulting words directly to Mr. Lewis that amounted to vituperative epithets or racial slurs.
"More specifically, in refusing to serve Mr. Lewis and Ms. Ross and while forcing Mr. Lewis and Ms. Ross to leave the story, defendant Holman told Mr. Lewis that Mr. Lewis was 'nobody,' who he didn't have to serve, and that Mr. Lewis should 'go back to the hood where he belonged.'"
The defendants are accused of unlawful public accommodation discrimination and statutory insulting words actionable under West Virginia law.
Ross is seeking damages and attorneys' fees.
She is being represented in the case by attorneys Keith A. Jones and Stacy Ann Jacques of Jones Law Group in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge James C. Stucky.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number 14-C-1478 (Ross) and 14-C-1477 (Lewis)