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Court OK's Discrimination Suit Against Restaurant

•  Recent Cases     updated  2008/06/12 08:55


A California appeals court reinstated the discrimination claims of a disabled customer who was ridiculed and denied service at a restaurant.

Ron Wilson followed his occasional visits to Murillo's Mexican Food with letters to owner Frances Murillo, suggesting ways the restaurant could become more accessible.

Murillo spent about $130,000 to bring the restaurant into compliance with disability law.

But in March 2005, Murillo asked Wilson and a friend to leave, saying, "You guys are not welcome here, and you know that ... You're only here to harass me. You're not here for the food."

When Wilson refused, the bartender allegedly took his food while another employee took pictures of him, sarcastically telling him to "smile for the camera."

Wilson sued Murillo for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The district court ruled that the behavior was too trivial to be actionable, but Justice Ruvolo disagreed, stating that Wilson should be allowed to make his case.

Ruvolo said restaurants may not refuse to serve customers because the patrons filed ADA complaints against them.  

The alleged intimidation and harassment would also constitute a violation of disability law, Ruvolo wrote.

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