Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) February 9, 2018 – A couple of disabled veterans have filed a lawsuit in federal court against a bakery and the city. The couple alleges that the owners of the bakery refused to serve them, on multiple occasions, because they were accompanied by service dogs. As reported in Times-Call Local News, Jennifer and Gary Block also allege that police officers who responded to the second incident failed to properly handle the situation, and forced the couple to leave the premises.
However, police claim the couple left on their own accord, and the owners of the bakery were simply inquiring as to whether the dogs were actually service dogs. According to the lawsuit, the owners acted in violation of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA). In addition, the suit argues that the bakery violated the Anti-Discrimination Act, and that the city was in violation of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Florida veterans lawyer David W. Magann says, “Veterans should be permitted to bring service animals into business establishments without fear of being denied service.” “There is some evidence to suggest that having a service animal can help a person recover from post-traumatic stress disorder, and thus, veterans, many of whom suffer from this condition, should be able to able to bring their service dog into public places.”
Under the ADA, people who are disabled can bring animals into buildings and other businesses where they would not normally be allowed. The Blocks claim that on March 8, they entered the bakery with a dog that the suit describes as a “service animal in training,” but the owners refused to serve them. As they were leaving, the couple said they requested that the owners become familiar with laws concerning service animals.
The couple allege that on another occasion 10 days later, they returned to the bakery with a different service dog and were refused service a second time. The suit alleges that the owners made threats to telephone police.
Furthermore, the suit claims that the four police officers who responded to the incident were “dismissive and condescending” toward them, and failed to provide accommodations that should be given to individuals who are afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health problems.
According to the Blocks’ attorney, Gary Block served in the U.S. Marines, and suffered an injury in a motor vehicle collision that caused him to have “significant neurocognitive deficits.” Jennifer Block was a corpsman in a Navy Hospital and was stationed with the Marines.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618
View Larger Map