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Restaurant settles lawsuit over N-word receipts given to black customer

A California restaurant has settled a federal discrimination lawsuit filed by a black businessman who said he got racist receipts that referred to him by the N-word.

According to court records, lawyers representing Mark McHenry and Landmark Steakhouse in Newport Beach, Orange County, agreed to a stipulated settlement on Feb. 2, the Orange County Weekly reported.

Terms of the settlement were not announced. The case had been scheduled to go to trial next month.

Stuart Shanus, one of the attorneys who represented McHenry, told msnbc.com on Tuesday that both sides are prohibited from discussing details of the settlement. An attorney for Landmark Steakhouse did not immediately return a call for comment.

According to court documents, McHenry, a Chicago native, began patronizing the restaurant, in the affluent, predominantly white neighborhood of Corona del Mar, shortly after moving to Orange County in 2007. He visited two or three times a week and was a regular at the bar.

McHenry said Landmark Steakhouse employees occasionally made comments to him like “black is the new white” but he let the comments go.

Read McHenry's original complaint

On Dec. 5, 2010, he visited the bar twice -- once in the afternoon and again in the evening. The next morning, he said, he reviewed his receipts and was “appalled” to see “Mc Stinky” followed by the N-word in the space designated for customer name on one credit card receipt. On a second receipt the customer name was listed as “Mc” followed by a combination of the first half of the N-word and the four-letter S-word profanity for excrement.

A few days after the discovery of the receipts, court documents say, a bartender at the restaurant, who is white, called and sent several text messages to McHenry profusely trying to apologize.

In one voicemail, the bartender said: “Yo Mark. Hey it’s [NAME WITHHELD]. Give me a call when you get a chance man. Just wanted to apologize for that tab, dude. You know we were totally jokin’ around.” In a follow-up text message, the bartender said: "I know I made a big mistake by crossing the line. I have a family & mortgage that depend on me.” In another text message on Christmas Eve, he said: "merry christmas! hope to see you soon. we miss you! please forgive us for being stupid. its not the same without you there. luv u bud!"

Mario Marovic, a partial owner of CDM Restaurant Inc., which includes Landmark Steakhouse, said in court documents that he does not "discriminate against any group of people on any basis whatsoever." According to court documents, the bartender was fired a week after the lawsuit was filed last March.

It's not the only case involving minority customers receiving racist restaurant receipts.

In December, a Chik-fil-A restaurant in Irvine, Calif., fired a cashier who issued receipts labeled “Ching” and “Chong” to two customers of Asian descent.

And in January, Papa John’s Pizza apologized after an employee typed “lady chinky eyes” on a receipt to an Asian customer at one of its New York City locations. The employee was also fired.

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