News and Press Releases

U.S. Attorney's Office Reaches Settlement with Albuquerque Restaurant Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 7, 2013

ALBUQUERQUE – The U.S. Attorney’s Office has reached a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with MasDonald, LLC, and Maloney’s Tavern to ensure equal access to Maloney’s Tavern for individuals with disabilities who use service animals. MasDonald, LLC, is an Arizona limited liability corporation that owns and operates Maloney’s Tavern, a restaurant located on Central Avenue NW in Albuquerque, N.M.

The settlement agreement resolves a complaint filed under Title III of the ADA by an individual with a disability who was refused service and asked to leave Maloney’s Tavern because she was accompanied by her service animal. It requires, among other things, that Maloney’s Tavern provide training to its employees to ensure that individuals with disabilities who use service animals have full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services and facilities.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees equal access to individuals with disabilities who are accompanied by service animals, but too often those individuals are subject to discrimination because of misperceptions or a lack of understanding of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Kenneth J. Gonzales.

The settlement agreement requires that MasDonald, LLC, and Maloney’s Tavern:

  • Implement a nondiscrimination policy regarding individuals with disabilities who use service animals;
  • Distribute the policy and train employees on the rights of service animal users and employee obligations to ensure full and equal access to the goods, services and facilities of Maloney’s Tavern;
  • Provide the same training to new staff within 30 days of their date of hire;
  • Post a sign stating that “This Restaurant Welcomes Customers with Disabilities Who Are Accompanied by Their Service Animals ” next to the entry door of Maloney’s Tavern; and
  • Pay $2,500.00 as a civil penalty.

A service animal is individually trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Service animals perform a wide variety of functions. Examples of these functions include guiding persons who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds, warning persons about impending seizures or other medical conditions, performing a variety of tasks for persons with psychiatric disabilities, picking up items, opening doors, flipping switches, providing physical support and pulling wheelchairs for individuals with mobility disabilities. Currently, only dogs are recognized service animals.

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination by retail stores, restaurants, hotels, taxi and bus companies, doctors, hospitals and other private businesses and nonprofit organizations that provide services to the public. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination by public entities, including state and local governments and public transportation providers. All of these entities are prohibited from excluding individuals with disabilities from their facilities, services and programs because the individuals use service animals. If any of these entities has a rule excluding pets or other animals, it must make an exception to that rule and permit an individual with a disability to be accompanied by a service animal anywhere on the premises that other customers are permitted to go.

U.S. Attorney Gonzales said, “We are pleased that MasDonald and Maloney’s Tavern have affirmed their commitment to ensuring that individuals with disabilities benefit fully and equally from their goods, facilities, and services, including individuals who use service animals.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ruth F. Keegan represented the United States in negotiating the settlement agreement.

More information about the ADA and ADA rights and responsibilities relating to service animals is available on the ADA home page at www.ada.gov. This information includes two publications specifically addressing access for individuals accompanied by service animals: “ADA Business Brief: Service Animals” and “Commonly Asked Questions About Service Animals in Places of Business.” Those interested in obtaining copies of these documents or additional information may also call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

Settlement Agreement

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