Killeen Hotel to Pay Damages to Disabled Veteran with Service Dog for Denying Access
By PVA National Staff
U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff of the Western District of Texas announced that the United States has reached an agreement with the owners and managers of Executive Inn & Suites, a hotel in Killeen, Texas, to resolve allegations they violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying equal access to individuals with disabilities who use service dogs.
The settlement resolves allegations initially brought by a disabled veteran who utilizes a service animal and wheelchair due to an amputation of his left leg.
The veteran alleged that upon learning that the veteran was accompanied by a service dog the hotel desk clerk refused to honor his reservation because the hotel owner did not allow any type of dog. Hotel staff insisted that the veteran leave, called the local police department to escort the veteran off hotel property, and refused to refund his room rental fee.
Under the agreement, J&J Executive Suites LLC, Kyung Sang Lee and Gaesun Lee will ensure that the hotel adopts and implements a service dog policy; provides training on the service dog policy to employees and managers; and posts the service dog policy at their facilities and in their advertising.
They will also pay money damages to the veteran as compensation for the effects of the discrimination and the harm he endured as a result of their actions.
“Individuals with disabilities, including veterans who have sacrificed for our country, have a right under federal law to the equal enjoyment of public accommodations,” U.S. Attorney Ashley C. Hoff said in the release. “Our office is committed to ensuring that our veterans enjoy equal access to public accommodations, such as restaurants, hotels, and shops.”
The settlement will require the hotel to amend its policies to allow service dogs. The hotel will also pay an undisclosed amount to the veteran for damages, the release said.