The Justice Department filed a lawsuit today against Sairam Enterprises Inc. LLC alleging that it discriminated against Jeffrey Crockett and his family on the basis of disability in violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Sairam Enterprises owns and operates the Days Inn and Conference Center Tulsa, a hotel in Tulsa, Okla.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, alleges that Days Inn Tulsa maintained a “no pet” policy that was enforced against Crockett to prohibit him, his service animal and his family from staying at the hotel on Aug. 31, 2010, while they were traveling through Oklahoma. Crockett is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps who has a degenerative disc disease, a demyelinating disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and panic disorder. Crockett’s service animal is a German shepherd named Phineas that is trained to perform tasks directly related to his disabilities, and Days Inn Tulsa allegedly made no effort to modify its policy even after Crockett notified the hotel that Phineas is a service animal.
“The men and women who have given so much to our country through their military service cannot be denied accommodations because they need a service animal,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to enforce the ADA so that they, and others with disabilities, do not need to face such discrimination.”
“It is vital for the Justice Department to protect every citizen’s right to equal treatment and opportunity, especially for our Nation’s veterans,” said U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr. for the Northern District of Oklahoma. “Under the American with Disabilities Act, no citizen with the need for a service animal should be discriminated against and denied accommodation.”
In the lawsuit, the United States is seeking a court order declaring that Days Inn Tulsa violated the ADA, prohibiting future discrimination by the hotel, and requiring the hotel to adopt a nondiscrimination policy and to train its staff on nondiscrimination. The lawsuit also seeks an award of monetary damages to the Crocketts who were allegedly harmed by the discrimination and a civil penalty.
To read the complaint and for more information on the ADA, visit the ADA website. Those interested in finding out more about this lawsuit or the obligations of private entities to accommodate people with service animals under the ADA may call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access the ADA website. ADA complaints may be filed by email.
The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must still be proven in federal court.