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LOS ANGELES TIMES-Reporter David Lazarus
David Martin was in the mood for raw fish, and he liked the deal offered by a Studio City sushi restaurant: all you can eat for $28. He took a seat at the counter and started ordering. But it turned out that Martin didn't really want sushi, which includes rice; he wanted all-you-can-eat sashimi, which is just fish. He began picking the seafood off the top and leaving the rice.
Restaurant owner Jay Oh told Martin that if he wanted the all-you-can-eat price, he'd have to eat the rice too and not just fill up on fish. Martin replied that he has diabetes and that he can't eat rice. Oh said he offered to prepare sashimi for Martin. Two orders of sashimi cost $25, or $3 less than the all-you-can-eat sushi deal. But Oh said Martin declined the offer.
Martin left the restaurant after being charged a la carte prices for the sushi he'd already ordered plus $1 for a cup of green tea.
Two weeks later, Martin filed suit in Los Angeles County Superior Court. It seeks at least $4,000 in damages for the "humiliation, embarrassment and mental anguish" Martin says he suffered after being discriminated against "on the basis of his disability."
Discrimination, or shakedown?
Oh says it's the latter, and is determined to go to trial, even if the eventual legal cost tops the $6,000 Martin subsequently demanded to make his lawsuit go away.
"I have to fight this," Oh told me over green tea at A Ca-Shi Sushi before the dinner rush. "Why do I have to give this person money? I didn't do anything wrong."
Martin couldn't be reached for comment. But his attorney, Stuart E. Cohen, said that "we are not after money, but a change in A Ca-Shi's thinking and policy."
"I would rather like to see A Ca-Shi succeed on a level playing field, not a discriminatory one," he said.
“The rice is part of the all-you-can-eat sushi,” Jay Oh, the owner of the A-Ca Shi restaurant, told the LA Times.
“If you only eat the fish, I would go broke.”
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