Hobson v. York Studios

CourtNew York City Municipal Court
Writing for the CourtWAHL; Fuld; Bijur
Citation145 N.Y.S.2d 162,208 Misc. 888
Decision Date18 October 1955
PartiesRose HOBSON and Raymond S. Hobson, Plaintiffs, v. YORK STUDIOS, Inc., Defendant.

Page 162

145 N.Y.S.2d 162
208 Misc. 888
Rose HOBSON and Raymond S. Hobson, Plaintiffs,
v.
YORK STUDIOS, Inc., Defendant.
Municipal Court of City of New York, Borough of Manhattan,
Seventh District.
Oct. 18, 1955.

Page 164

[208 Misc. 889] Bruce McM. Wright, New York City, of counsel (Marion O. Jones, New York City, attorney), for plaintiffs.

Isaac Knox, New York City, for defendant.

[208 Misc. 890] WAHL, Justice.

The plaintiffs, Raymond S. Hobson, a Negro, and his wife, a white woman, sue for statutory redress under Section 41 of the Civil Rights Law. They allege that when they applied for a room at the defendant's hotel, they were rejected by reason of their race and the sought public accommodations refused to them on that ground alone.

Section 40 of the Civil Rights Law, speaking of 'public accommodations', insofar as applicable here, reads as follows:

'No person, being the owner, lessee, proprietor, manager, superintendent, agent or employee of any such place shall directly or indirectly refuse, withhold from or deny to any person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities or privileges thereof, * * * on account of race, creed, color or national origin'.

The answer of the defendant is, in substance, a general denial and it disclaims any violation of the plaintiffs' civil rights. $The plaintiffs' testimony shows that on May 6, 1953, Mrs. Hobson, a white person, saw a sign on the defendant's hotel stating that a vacancy existed. She went in to seek lodging for herself and her husband. She was alone at the time. The desk clerk, a Mrs. Raleigh, showed Mrs. Hobson Room 62-F, accepted a deposit of $5 and gave Mrs. Hobson a receipt, while reserving the room for both plaintiffs.

The next day, both plaintiffs returned to the defendant's hotel to claim their reservation and pay the balance due. Only Mr. Hobson spoke to the desk clerk, showing the receipt for the reservation. The desk clerk looked at the Hobsons and demanded proof of identification and of the marriage. At that point, an elevator man spoke to the desk clerk, who called him aside, where they had a whispered conversation, after which the desk clerk told Mr. Hobson that the hotel did not want 'white and colored' living together in view of the tendency of another interracial couple, who had resided there previously, to fight all the time. Mr. Hobson stated to the clerk that they were married, gainfully employed, and frequently at night, she as a nurse, and he as a Postal clerk. The desk clerk then returned the plaintiffs' deposit.

The testimony offered by the defendant through Mrs. Raleigh, the desk clerk, did not dispute that Rose Hobson, a white woman, made the

Page 165

reservation for the room, left a deposit and stated that she would return the next day with her husband for the room. Mrs. Raleigh's testimony differs from that of the plaintiffs as to the reason why the room was refused. She says [208 Misc. 891] that the Negro plaintiff returned to the hotel alone with the receipt which had been given his wife. She states that when she demanded identification and proof of marriage, Mr. Hobson became abusive and offensive.

I have accepted the testimony of the plaintiffs, seemingly respectable and worthy citizens, and I am convinced that both of them were discriminated against because of their race. The post litem contention that Mr. Hobson was offensive and abusive and that that was the basis of the refusal to give the plaintiffs accommodations is not convincing, nor was it pleaded as a matter of affirmative defense. It is natural that a defendant accused of racial discrimination will seek avoidance of statutory penalties therefor through 'explanations'.

As the Appellate Court of Indiana noted in Bailey v. Washington Theatre Co., 112 Ind.App. 336, 344, 41 N.E.2d 819, 821, 822, while construing a statute in many respects similar to New York's:

'It is apparent that in all cases where a colored person is denied the rights and privileges guaranteed him * * * (the) defendant could deny that the exclusion was because of race or color and could place the reason therefor as dislike. When such a defense is asserted, and no basis for dislike is shown, this court, upon appeal, is not bound by the seeming conflict.'

Judge Fuld, writing for the Court of Appeals, Holland v. Edwards, 307...

To continue reading

Request your trial
5 practice notes
  • Buffi v. Ferri, No. 628-M
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • December 12, 1969
    ...had a similar broad scope. The only case we have found which broadly construes confining legislation is Hobson v. York Studios, 208 Misc. 888, 145 N.Y.S.2d 162, and in our judgment the Court in that case was legislating rather than...
  • Local Finance Co. of Rockland v. Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • December 3, 1968
    ...441; Camp-of-the-Pines, Inc. v. New York Times Co., 184 Misc. 389, 399--401, 53 N.Y.S.2d 475 (Super.Ct.); Hobson v. York Studios, Inc., 208 Misc. 888, 891--894, 145 N.Y.S.2d 162 (Mun.Ct.); Everett v. Harron, 380 Pa. 123, 126--127, 110 A.2d 383. We think that similar Page 539 principles of i......
  • Tyler v. Eastern Discount Corp.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Term
    • January 31, 1968
    ...nature and is designed primarily to safeguard private rights, the statute is not strictly construed (Hobson v. York Studios, Inc., 208 Misc. 888, 145 N.Y.S.2d 162; cf. Michigan Mutual Liability Company v. State of New York, 53 Misc.2d 408, 410, 278 N.Y.S.2d 689, The defendant has utterly fa......
  • Industrial Linens Supply Co., Inc. v. Missouri Commission on Human Rights, No. KCD
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • July 6, 1976
    ...v. Jose, 148 App.Div. 718, 132 N.Y.S. 811 (1912); Jackson v. Imburgia, 184 Misc. 1063, 55 N.Y.S.2d 549 (1945); Hobson v. York Studios, 208 Misc. 888, 145 N.Y.S.2d 162 (1955). It is to be noted that the New York statute being implemented in those cases was quasi-criminal in that violation of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
5 cases
  • Buffi v. Ferri, No. 628-M
    • United States
    • Rhode Island Supreme Court
    • December 12, 1969
    ...had a similar broad scope. The only case we have found which broadly construes confining legislation is Hobson v. York Studios, 208 Misc. 888, 145 N.Y.S.2d 162, and in our judgment the Court in that case was legislating rather than...
  • Local Finance Co. of Rockland v. Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
    • United States
    • Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court
    • December 3, 1968
    ...441; Camp-of-the-Pines, Inc. v. New York Times Co., 184 Misc. 389, 399--401, 53 N.Y.S.2d 475 (Super.Ct.); Hobson v. York Studios, Inc., 208 Misc. 888, 891--894, 145 N.Y.S.2d 162 (Mun.Ct.); Everett v. Harron, 380 Pa. 123, 126--127, 110 A.2d 383. We think that similar Page 539 principles of i......
  • Tyler v. Eastern Discount Corp.
    • United States
    • New York Supreme Court — Appellate Term
    • January 31, 1968
    ...nature and is designed primarily to safeguard private rights, the statute is not strictly construed (Hobson v. York Studios, Inc., 208 Misc. 888, 145 N.Y.S.2d 162; cf. Michigan Mutual Liability Company v. State of New York, 53 Misc.2d 408, 410, 278 N.Y.S.2d 689, The defendant has utterly fa......
  • Industrial Linens Supply Co., Inc. v. Missouri Commission on Human Rights, No. KCD
    • United States
    • Missouri Court of Appeals
    • July 6, 1976
    ...v. Jose, 148 App.Div. 718, 132 N.Y.S. 811 (1912); Jackson v. Imburgia, 184 Misc. 1063, 55 N.Y.S.2d 549 (1945); Hobson v. York Studios, 208 Misc. 888, 145 N.Y.S.2d 162 (1955). It is to be noted that the New York statute being implemented in those cases was quasi-criminal in that violation of......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT