Restaurants can refuse service to Hells Angels wearing their club insignia, a Spokane County judge has ruled.
District Court Judge Mike Padden said members of the biker club aren’t a “protected class” under anti-discrimination provisions of state or federal law.
The Spokane chapter of the Hells Angels, which celebrates its first anniversary next month, filed a discrimination suit earlier this year against Thudpucker’s, 43 W. Riverside, and The Shed, 1801 N. Division.
Plaintiffs were Donald Rapp, Tim Myers, Evan Barton and Robert Peldo, all charter members of the Spokane chapter.
They contended the restaurants’ refusal to admit them while they wore Hells Angels patches was a violation of their constitutional rights of free speech and assembly.
Padden rejected those arguments in a Friday ruling.
The plaintiffs were represented by attorney Edwin Alden, hired by the Hells Angels organization.
The Tri-Cities attorney did not return telephone calls Monday.
When members of the biker club starting hanging out in lounges at the two restaurants, managers posted signs and evicted anyone wearing “biker colors.”
Spokane attorney John Perry, hired to defend both restaurants, said antidiscrimination laws are based on race, religion, national origin, gender or physical handicap.
“We are pleased that the court recognizes the right of private business owners to control their establishments,” Perry said Monday.
“This ensures that the restaurants can use their discretion to avoid situations that could cause problems for their patrons.”