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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Against Golden Corral Restaurant For Violation Of The Americans With Disabilities Act

The United States Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan announced today that it has filed suit against the Golden Corral restaurant in Westland, Michigan for violating the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying service to a mother and her minor children based on the appearance of the children's skin due to a genetic skin disorder.

The Justice Department's complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit, alleges that the manager of the Golden Corral restaurant demanded that Danielle Duford and her four daughters leave the restaurant based on the appearance of the children's skin caused by a genetic skin disorder, epidermolysis bullosa, which causes blisters to form on the skin in response to minor injuries and temperature changes. Despite Ms. Duford informing the restaurant manager of her children's disability and repeatedly emphasizing that they did not have a contagious disease, the manager required the family to immediately leave the restaurant, claiming that he had received complaints from other customers. Title III of the ADA prohibits public accommodations, such as restaurants, from discriminating against people on the basis of disability, or their association with an individual with a disability, in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods or services offered. The lawsuit seeks an injunction against further discrimination, money damages for the victims of the unlawful discrimination, and civil penalties to be paid to the United States. The lawsuit is only an allegation of unlawful conduct by the defendants. The United States will bear the burden of proving the allegations at trial.

"The promise of the Americans with Disabilities Act is that disabled citizens should have full access to public life. We hope that this lawsuit will assist in expanding people's understanding of the range of disabilities and the obligations to treat all disabled citizens fairly under the law," said Barbara L. McQuade, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan.

The case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan K. DeClercq in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Michigan, in collaboration with the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

More information about the ADA is available at the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY) and via the ADA website at http://www.ada.gov or through contacting the U.S. Attorney's civil rights hotline at 313-226-9151.

Updated March 19, 2015