Top China Buffet Will Pay Family For Excluding Service Dog
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
November 20, 2003
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA--The Top China Buffet of Indianapolis has agreed to pay $5,000 to a woman and her family who claimed the restaurant refused to serve them because of her service dog.
Betty Barnett, who uses a wheelchair because of lower back injuries and nerve damage, said that she and her family were denied service on December 4, 1999, when they brought with them Kirk, her specially-trained Labrador retriever. Barnett even showed Top China workers documentation that Kirk was a service dog and that he was authorized under federal and state laws to accompany her into restaurants.
The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by the Barnetts last year in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
According to the Courier-Journal, Top China Buffet will pay Barnett $2,500 and $1,250 each to her husband and daughter. The restaurant also will pay a $2,400 civil penalty and will train employees about disability laws. The owners must post a sign saying that people with disabilities and their service dogs are welcome.
Federal and state laws require businesses, including restaurants, to allow service animals to accompany customers with disabilities.
Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business (U.S. Department of Justice)