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Adickes v. S. H. Kress & Co.

United States Supreme Court
398 U.S. 144 (1970)


On August 14, 1964, Sandra Adickes (plaintiff), a white schoolteacher, was refused service at the lunch counter at S.H. Kress & Co. (Kress) (defendant) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, because she was accompanied by several of her African American students. After Adickes left the store, she was arrested on a charge of vagrancy. Adickes brought suit against Kress, alleging violation of her equal protection rights. She alleged two counts: (1) that she was refused service because she was in the company of African Americans, and there was a custom in the community of segregation in eating places; and (2) that the refusal of service and arrest were the result of a conspiracy between Kress and Hattiesburg police. At trial, Adickes did not prove that there had been other instances of a white person being refused service because he was accompanied by African Americans, and therefore failed to establish a custom, so the trial court directed a verdict in favor of Kress on the first count. The second count was dismissed on summary judgment before trial. The court of appeals affirmed with regards to both counts, Adickes appealed, and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

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