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Disabled man sues McDonald's over service dog access

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A disabled Minneapolis man has filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that he twice had trouble being served at a McDonald's while accompanied by his service dog.

The Star Tribune reports that Robert Mingo, 52, who uses a wheelchair, was with his red-vested border collie-springer spaniel mix when he went to place an order inside the McDonald’s franchise on West Broadway.

His suit alleges that he was refused service in August of 2012 from an employee at the counter because he brought his service dog inside. It goes on to say the same employee again refused to serve him when he went through the drive-through in his wheelchair. Mingo was eventually served.

In the second instance in May of the following year, the suit said that a manager ordered him not to eat in the dining area with his dog. When Mingo objected that the law allowed him access, the said the manager declared, "I am the law," which prompted laughter from customers.

Mingo has used a wheelchair for the past decade because of a muscular dystrophy diagnosis. He told BringMeTheNews, "The best thing that could come out of this is that all McDonald's employees are required to undergo sensitivity training concerning people with disabilities."

The newspaper said McDonald's has yet to make a court filing in response to the allegations and that calls to the franchise were not returned.

Mingo's suit alleges violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which says governments, businesses and nonprofits that serve the public generally must allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities. The law limits inquiries about a service dog’s validity. Asking a disabled person to produce the relevant documents is illegal.

McDonald's has been sued numerous times over ADA violations. In a 2013 lawsuit, a father said his autistic son became agitated by the noise and small tight play areas in the play area. The family sought a reasonable accommodation for the disability and were allegedly told to not bring the child back. The legal blog LeftCoastLaw noted that the case " reminder that ADA compliance requires much more than hiring a consultant to measure the incline of the wheel chair ramp and the number of handicap parking spaces. Any employee who interacts with consumers or employees must be prepared to identify a complaint or request for accommodation that may be a pre-cursor to an ADA lawsuit."

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