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Discrimination Case Can Move Forward, Judge Rules
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 1, 2004

LAKE STEVENS, WASHINGTON--In August 2002, Milo J. Kippen brought his service dogs into the Lake Shore Inn and Lounge. Kippen, who is paraplegic and uses a wheelchair, left the dogs at a table while he went to play pool.

The bar's owners told Kippen that he and his service dogs were not welcome, and then told them to leave.

Police officer Wayne Aukerman later arrived at Kippen's home to warn him that if he and his service dogs returned to the bar, he would be charged with criminal trespassing.

According to the Everett Daily Herald, Kippen has sued the former bar's owners, the city of Lake Stevens, the police department and the officer who issued the warning.

A federal judge recently threw out part of Kippen's suit against the city, but will allow other claims to go to trial. Specifically, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik ruled that Kippen cannot sue officer Wayne Aukerman individually. The judge did say, however, that Kippen can argue that Aukerman violated his civil rights by issuing the trespass warning.

While the owners of the bar, Jay and Mohammed Jaatar, did not dispute Kippen's claim that the dogs were service animals, they did question why the dogs should be allowed into the bar when they were not needed to help Kippen at the pool table.

Judge Lasnik said that the dogs pull Kippen's wheelchair and assist him in other ways. He also noted that the Americans with Disabilities Act requires businesses such as bars and restaurants to allow people to have their service animals wherever customers are generally allowed.

Sid Strong, an attorney representing the Jaatars, explained that his clients filed for bankruptcy and are protected from any lawsuit.

The case now is scheduled for a May 3 jury trial in Seattle.

Related resource:
Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals In Places of Business (U.S. Department of Justice)


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