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Press Release

U.S. Attorney’s Office Reaches ADA Settlement with Bennigan’s Restaurant of Mandan, North Dakota

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of North Dakota

BISMARCK:  United States Attorney Mac Schneider announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota completed its investigation and entered into a settlement agreement with Bennigan’s restaurant of Mandan, North Dakota to resolve allegations that Bennigan’s violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Specifically, a complaint alleged that Bennigan’s refused to allow a veteran with a disability who uses a service animal to enter Bennigan’s with their service animal.

During its investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office found that the complainant attempted to enter Bennigan’s with their service animal. A Bennigan’s employee told the complainant they were not allowed to have the service animal in the restaurant and incorrectly told the complainant they needed documentation for the service animal.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, individuals with disabilities who use service animals may enter places of public accommodations, such as restaurants, with their service animals. The service animal must be allowed in any part of the restaurant customers are normally allowed to be. There is no requirement that individuals with disabilities show any documentation, licensure, or certification, nor is there a requirement that the service animal be wearing any vest, harness, or collar that indicates it is a service animal. A service animal is simply any dog trained to work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. If a place of public accommodation is unsure whether an animal is a service animal, under the ADA they may only ask two questions:

  • Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
  • What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?

Under the settlement agreement, Bennigan’s agreed to adopt a service animal non-discrimination policy for its restaurant, provide relevant training to its employees regarding the ADA, post signage indicating service animals are welcome, and pay $1,000 in damages to the complainant.

“People with disabilities who are accompanied by a service animal are entitled to come and go freely in the community,” said United States Attorney Schneider. “Bennigan’s cooperated throughout this investigation, and I commend its commitment to take swift remedial action. The corrective measures agreed to by Bennigan’s will give individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy a great restaurant with legendary Irish hospitality in North Dakota, as is required by the ADA. We hope other proprietors will proactively comply with this important civil rights law. Service animals play an important role to ensure the independence of people with disabilities, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to ensuring that individuals with disabilities will have full and equal access to places of public accommodation.”  

This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa H. Burkland of the District of North Dakota. 

Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in North Dakota is not accessible to persons with disabilities may file a complaint online at or contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 701-297-7400.  



Terry W. Van Horn  701-297-7400

Updated April 24, 2024