Reggie and Amy Pretto, an African-American couple from Montclair, have joined in a lawsuit filed by Priti Shetty, of Montvale, against Dunkin Donuts Franchised Restaurants, LLC, claiming that the coffee and donut company discriminates against African-American and Indian Women of Color.

Ms. Shetty and the Prettos are represented by the law firm of  Marks & Klein, LLP of Red Bank, NJ. In the lawsuit filed with the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, Shetty claims she was “personally victimized by Dunkin’s discriminatory policies and harassment at the hands of Dunkin’s operations managers, which conduct is typical of Dunkin’s discrimination against not only Indian females but against women of color.” Shetty claims the company officials prevented her from opening in Northern New Jersey a third store that was later assigned to a white male franchisee and claims she was blocked from returning to the franchisee fold once she had sold her stores.

The Prettos joined the lawsuit alleging they “invested their time, money and significant resources into the development of three less desirable Dunkin’ locations after having been illegally “steered”  by Dunkin away from their home New York/New Jersey area to open stores in less economically favorable areas in Maryland, which stores ultimately failed financially.” The lawsuit states that “Dunkin representatives, however, lied to the Prettos and falsely indicated that no SDAs were available in the New York/New Jersey regional area.”

The lawsuit states that, “[u]pon further information and belief, Dunkin does not have any African American multi-unit franchisees, female or male OR Asian Indian American women  of  color  multi-unit  franchisees in New Jersey, Connecticut and/or Rhode Island.” It continues, “As far as Indian American women and African-Americans, female or male, are concerned, Dunkin’s slogan should be “Dunkin Runs on Discrimination’ rather than ‘America Runs on Dunkin’.

Plaintiffs seek both equitable relief and money. Read the lawsuit in its entirety here.

(Photo: Wikipedia)

32 replies on “Montclair Couple Suing Dunkin’ Donuts For Discrimination”

  1. From a sample of every Dunkin Donuts I’ve ever been to, I really thought all Dunkin Donuts are run by Indian Women. And what makes a desirable area? I think it has more to do with the staff than the location. If you drink coffee and your shop is on the way, people will stop. At least once. For instance, I love Quick Check. I try to avoid the one on Broad St because they are really slow, defeating the purpose of getting in and out. I want to sue them for using the word “Quick” in their name!

  2. (The link to the case didn’t work for me.)

    The case calls Ms. Shetty an “Indian Women of Color.” I have no idea what that is? She’s an Indian-American, right? Would we say a “Chinese Woman of Color”? (I hate the “of Color” designation, and don’t get me started on African-American.)

    The facts as presented by the plaintiffs seems damning, I wonder what DD’s response will be?

  3. If these allegations prove to be true, I would be more apt to believe that the discrimination is more gender-base than race-based. Almost every Dunkin’ Donuts I visit in NY or NJ, including the one on Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange, appear to be owned by Indian men.

  4. “Almost every Dunkin’ Donuts I visit in NY or NJ, including the one on Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange, appear to be owned by Indian men.”

    Perhaps managed by Indian men/women, perhaps not owned.

  5. There are two DDs near my office and I walk the extra quarter mile (or whatever) farther to the one that makes the better Coolattas. Wonder what the first shop thinks when they see us walk back past them with our DD drinks in hand!

    The employees of both stores appear to be Middle-Eastern. Indian, Bangladeshi, doesn’t matter to me as long as that machine is functional! No way to know who actually owns the shops though…

  6. Good luck with this one. Outside of a couple of rural N.E. locations every DD I’ve waked into is staffed, and presumably owned by Indians. Since many such franchises are relatively low margin businesses, you’ll typically find the owners and family members behind the counter. Since DDs are proliferating like crazy, it is logical and fair to the existing franchises not to over saturate their markets. If the prime locations are already taken, tough. Not descrimination.

  7. Nothing like a Chick-Fil-A dinner, followed by few custard filled chocolate donuts from Dunkin Donuts and then a triple bypass operation courtesy of ObamaromneyCare.

    (But I have noticed that the staff at DD seems mostly from the Indian Subcontinent. Let’s hear it for the Calcutta Coolatta !)

  8. Slightly OT, but in NYC, you can really see the direct results of the over-saturation of certain franchises. I don’t think you can walk one block in NYC without encountering either a Starbucks or a Duane Reade.

  9. A recent book entitled STARBUCKED details the story of the birth of the company and their rather unusual strategy of locating several stores in close proximity to one another. They have found that, when they do so, all of the locations do better. This even carries over, so they say, to indie coffee shops. I don’t know if I trust that part of their research, but we can certainly see that, with several locations right here in b’ville, and all of them doing well, they know what they’re doing.

    As for this case, who knows who the owners are, but the staff certainly seem to be East Asian and, well, “colored” as well.

    But as Frank Zappa once said, we’re all colored or else you wouldn’t be able to see us.

  10. I am a diehard Dunkin’ Donuts coffee drinker who knows the local shops well. Most are, indeed, managed by Indian men/women. I anxiously await DD’s response on this.

  11. I don’t know about this one. That franchises fail, for example, may have as much or more to do with one’s own management abilities and financial acumen. Especially in the case of a generally successful franchise like Dunkin’. (Also, were the franchises in question linked to Baskin-Robbins as well, as they often are?)

    And that Dunkin apparently (one says “apparently” because, really, no real reporting has been done above by Georgette, this is just a regurgitated press release) steered franchisees to locations in Maryland is not, in and of itself, immediate proof of, uh, “discrimination.” Instead, it may merely indicate the parent corporation’s desire to open up a new area to its products, which is not necessarily proof of anything untoward.

    As far as Indian-American women are concerned, the apparent running of so many DD franchises already by Indian-American family units hints at the possibly nonsensical nature of this aspect of the lawsuit. It is surely not the responsibility of Dunkin Donuts to ascertain, when a franchise is applied for, who really wears the pants in an Indian-American extended family, after all.

    Regardless of the eventual merits of the case, however, it does show that, no matter how silly or futile a lawsuit kay actually be, there is always some hack law firm out there which will take the case. I recommend people curious about such courts-clogging tedium to check the webite call,ed I believe, “” It is amazing to learn the sort of ridiculous things people will fill suit over in this, the most litigious of all countries

  12. Subways seem to out pacing them all in NYC.

    1- Subway
    2- Duane Reade
    3- Chipotle
    4- Fourbucks
    5- Chipotle
    6- DD
    7- Potbelly

    I can’t stand these places.

  13. Many of these franchisees share the last name of Patel. Apparently there is a mercantile caste of sorts that pulls together and runs these businesses. Almost all independent motels too.

  14. Patel = Smith, unless you are of the Sikh denomination in which case the telephone book is overloaded with Singhs. There was an Indian doctor who used to write for The New Yorker from time to time. In one of his pieces he told about traveling extensively throughout the United States for a couple of years. In every city / large town he stopped in, he would grab the phone book and count the “Patels.” If there were over seven or nine or something, he would then kinow there was at least one Indian grocery and restaurant in the area.

  15. Per herb, Subway is strangely ubiquitous. One can be passing through some remote town in Anywhere USA, stop in for a sandwich with 2 razor thin slices of meat, and see old NYC subway maps on the walls.
    What meaning could the BMT or the IRT possibly have for the locals, other than to lend a bit of exotic atmosphere?

  16. Priti Shetty …tough name to through life with. Maybe she can sue her parents while she is at it …talk about getting the shetty end of the stick. Though it does describe what I think of their donuts.

  17. Hahahahahhahahahahhahahah. Absurd.

    Also, Priti Shetty?????

    really no comments on this name??? F***ing awesome.

    Im amazed this is not a joke. Is it 4/1? If not these people are the worst.

  18. Perhaps they’re sari they brought the whole thing up.

    But I hope that DD stays in business. It’s the only coffee I’ll let Mumbai.

  19. As far as donuts go, their crullers are the sitar of the show.
    But for a lo-cal snack, try one of their raga-muffins.

  20. I’m not sure whom DD discriminates against, if indeed it does discriminate, but that surely does not include the mentally ill or emotionally disturbed.

    A recent Sunday morning visit to Montclair’s Bloomfield Avenue location was like a guided tour of the DSM-IV, with a whole spectrum of pathological types represented by fairly extreme and quite assertive examples ranging from various schizoid processes to addictive disorders to a whole cornucopia of psychoses.

    My companion, Dr. X, a clinical psychologist, thought one patron might in fact present a danger to himself and other patrons, and warned the management to no apparent avail. After surveying the territory, we left, choosing to enjoy our beverages elsewhere.

    Just curious as to what the connection might be between DD and severe mental illness. Any guesses?

  21. Bill C.: I think it’s more than DD opens earlier and stays open later than most of the businesses in the area so it becomes a convenient place to hang. That, and no one is enforcing the “no loitering” policy.

  22. I suspect there’s much more clinically diagnosable “madness” at a local spot with pretensions like Egan’s than at any Dunkin’ Donuts. But where will the area’s own “wandering Aengus,” Courson!, pop up next to practice pop psychology at its worst? (Surely not a go-go or biker bar, I’m guessing.)

  23. Thanks folks. Just checked back in here and I already hit my laugh quotient for the day. (For the record, doc says to limit my laughs to 5 belly laughs, 3 guffaws, 4 smirks, and 10 courtesy smile/laughs a day.)

  24. Prof, I’m with you. I just checked back here and I’m ROTFLMAO. Cathar’s comment is the one that really did me in.

  25. Dunkin Donuts will be sponsoring the re-release of the Disney classic “101 Dahl-mations” starring Cruller de Vil.

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