Man Sues Minnesota McDonald’s For Not Allowing Him To Eat Inside With Service Dog

It’s against the law for companies to discriminate or refuse service to people with service animals. But a Minnesota McDonald’s allegedly violated those laws and now faces a federal lawsuit.

A disabled Minneapolis man filed suit against a local McDonald’s owner and the global corporation alleging the restaurant violated the Americans With Disabilities Act when he was refused service twice while accompanied by his service dog. The man is seeking damages and requirements that company employees be trained and educated about the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

The man, who has muscular dystrophy and a chronic back ailment, uses a wheelchair and has limited use of his arms and hands. His 4-year-old service dog helps with many of his daily duties, such as opening and closing doors.

According to the lawsuit, in late August 2012 the man wheeled himself into the McDonald’s with his service dog in tow. An employee behind the counter told him that the dog prevented him from being served. The man then rode his wheelchair into the drive-through and was told “we don’t serve those things in the drive-through.”

Upon returning back inside the restaurant the man was allowed to buy his meal but was told he could not come back.

Several months later in May 2013, the man once again returned to the McDonald’s location. This time he says his order was taken without issues, but while waiting the restaurant’s manager told him he had to leave.

According to the lawsuit, the manager demanded to see documentation that the dog was in fact a service animal, and told the man he could not eat in the dining area with the dog.

When the man said the law allowed him to eat there, the manager replied: “I am the manager here, and I am the law,” to which other customers laughed. Upon receiving his food, the man and his service dog left.

The man says he hopes the lawsuit shines light on the Americans With Disabilities Act, which requires that state and local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations that serve the public must allow service animals to accompany those with disabilities.

Additionally, the Act puts limitations on inquiries about a service dog’s validity; asking a disabled person to produce the documentation of need is illegal.

“The best thing that could come out of this,” the man tells the Star Tribune, “is that all McDonald’s employees are required to undergo sensitivity training concerning people with disabilities.”

In a statement, the McDonald’s manager says he takes “complaints like this seriously [and] we do our best to provide a great customer experience to every customer.”

Disabled man sues Mpls. McDonald’s, citing conduct over service dog [Minneapolis Star Tribune]

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  1. CommonC3nts says:

    I am sorry but when a guy wheelchairs into your store you dont question his service dog.

    I blame people abusing the laws for this. Too many people without a disability will claim emotional support dogs and lie to get their dog into stores and restaurants. It has made a culture of people not believing that the dog is really a trained dog.
    But as I said, guy in wheelchair = dont question the dog. You wont win any argument with a guy in a wheelchair about not really being disabled.

    On a side note, I have been to McDonalds that will take “drunk” walkups through the drive thru when the seating area is closed so it is a lie that they cannot serve him from the drive through without a car. At 2am you see people walking in between cars at the drive thru, it is funny to watch.

    • evlpete says:

      I agree the epidemic of fake service dogs is causing problems for people that are actually disabled.

      What is worse is a majority of these fake service dog are not even minimally train not to beg for or jump on tables.

      I’ve even seen fake service dog take a crap in a store and the dogs owner just walk away leaving it on the floor.

  2. JoeBlow says:

    Well, without a statement from McDonalds, which given the lawsuit I’m guessing they won’t be providing, we do only have the one side of the story. Obviously if the manager either refused service or asked for documentation, they would be in violation of the americans with disabilities act. Now if the service animal did not appear to be under control, I believe they could require the animal to be removed, but if that’s the case, I’m sure it would come up in court, if they don’t settle first.

  3. furiousd says:

    I understand it can be embarrassing having undue amounts of attention or even aggression directed towards you in situations like this, but don’t service dogs need to be trained? Wouldn’t it be a simple matter to have a small ID card for the dog contained in a pouch of their vest so that people can’t just say “service animal” or “ADA: you can’t ask me any questions” and cause a fuss, then the problematic abusers are eliminated? I would regularly give a ride to church to a friend who was in a motorized wheelchair and had a service dog. I don’t recall but once his dog not having his vest on, it’d be a simple matter to implement that way. ADA registration of service animals.

    • CommonC3nts says:

      They dont want to force disabled people to get some kind of license or registration that not disabled people dont have to get.
      And what if the disabled person forgets their disabled card or license? No one wants to have a disabled person denied entry because they forgot something.

      Also many people do have legit service dogs that are trained by the owner and not a 3rd party.
      Someone in a wheel chair and who has limited movement of hands and back can just literally go to the pound, get a smart loyal breed for $90, and train them to retrieve items for them.
      If they drop something the dog picks it up for them. If they need to grab something out of reach, the dog grabs it for them.
      That is a 100% legit service dog, but with no documentation.

      I think what needs to be done is severe punishments for those lying about their service dogs like those who claim emotional support dogs as service dogs.
      It will be hard to catch someone, but if the penalties were really severe like 1 year in jail and 10,000 fine then after you catch one person everyone else will stop faking it.