Crime & Courts

Judge rules on claim skimpy order of Hardee’s Hash Rounds violated man’s civil rights

A federal judge on Wednesday ruled that a North Carolina man’s claim that Hardee’s violated his civil rights with a skimpy order of Hash Rounds was “frivolous and too vague.”

U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad, however, gave Tommy Martin of Mount Holly a second chance before the judge considers dismissing his lawsuit, court records show.

Conrad gave Martin two weeks to file an amended complaint in U.S. District Court in Charlotte with more specifics about what happened in the Hardee’s on North Main Street in Belmont and how his civil rights were violated.

Martin did not immediately return a phone message from The Charlotte Observer on Wednesday.

Martin sued the Hardee’s in June after he said staff humiliated him by placing only two Hash Rounds on his breakfast plate with the rest of his order and then refused to give him more, the Observer previously reported.

Hardee’s owner, CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc. of Franklin, Tenn., has not formally replied in court to the complaint or responded to a request for comment from The Charlotte Observer.

After filing the lawsuit, Martin, who is black, told the Observer in a phone interview that he felt like he was in a scene from the segregated 1960s. He said the Hardee’s manager who said he couldn’t have the typical number of Hash Rounds is white, as were all the customers that day.

“The manager came back and said that what you get,” Martin said in the lawsuit about the restaurant. “Got home with tear in mine eye. I have got to do something.”

“It’s not a money issue,” the 58-year-old Martin told the Observer at the time. “I just want to be treated fairly.”

According to the lawsuit, another customer told Martin it was good he looked at the number of Hash Rounds he’d been given before he left the restaurant.

A small order of Hash Rounds contains at least a half-dozen “crispy, poppable potato rounds,” according to a photo on the Hardee’s website.

The manager gave him his money back after refusing to give him the correct number of Hash Rounds, Martin said in the lawsuit.

He told the Observer in the recent phone interview that he remained “patient” throughout the encounter. He said the Hardee’s cashier was preparing to give him the correct number of Hash Rounds when the manager stepped in and told him no.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.