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Monday, February 9, 2015

Justice Department Resolves Lawsuit Against Sairam Enterprises Inc. For Discriminating Against Disabled Veteran With Service Animal

The Department of Justice reached an agreement today to resolve a lawsuit it brought against Sairam Enterprises Inc. LLC, which owns a hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The proposed consent decree, which must be approved by the court, resolves a 2014 lawsuit that the department filed against Sairam Enterprises over allegations that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when it denied a room at a Days Inn to a person with a service animal and his family.

The lawsuit alleged that on July 31, 2010, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Marine Corps who relies on a service animal sought a hotel room at the Days Inn and Conference Center Tulsa which had a no pets policy.  The Days Inn is now known as the Tuscany Inn.  The veteran wanted a room for himself, his family and his service dog.  His service dog is a German shepherd, which performs tasks related to his disabilities. 

The complaint alleged that Sairam violated Title III of the ADA when it refused to rent the family a room because of the service dog.  The ADA requires that hotels allow guests to stay with their service animals without being subjected to additional fees.  Sairam denies the allegations.

Under the terms of the consent decree, Sairam will pay $5,000 to the veteran and his wife and will provide its employees with training regarding the ADA and the protections it provides to guests with service animals.  The consent decree also requires Sairam to post signs and other announcements at its hotel stating its willingness to lodge travelers with service animals.

“The Department of Justice is determined to enforce the right of all people with disabilities to have equal access to hotels and other public accommodations,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta for the Civil Rights Division.  “This settlement vindicates the rights of a veteran and his family and protects the rights of all future travelers with disabilities who pass through Tulsa.”

“The Northern District of Oklahoma is committed to protecting the rights of people with disabilities to ensure equal access to public accommodations,” said U.S. Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr. for the Northern District of Oklahoma.       “My office will continue to work to eliminate barriers to the use of public accommodations and to protect every citizen’s rights.”

To read the consent decree and for more information on the ADA, visit the ADA website at www.ada.gov.  Those interested in finding out more about this consent decree or the obligations of public entities 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 its ADA website.  ADA complaints may be filed by email to ada.complaint@usdoj.gov.  

Updated August 27, 2015