Feds Sue Law Firm For Barring Service Dog
Federal prosecutors are taking action after they say a New York law firm prohibited a client with a disability from visiting their offices with her service dog.
The U.S. attorney for Manhattan is suing the law firm — Larkin, Axelrod, Ingrassia and Tetenbaum — for allegedly violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
According to the suit filed last week, attorneys at the firm refused to meet with their client, Lauren Klejmont, in their offices because she was accompanied by her service dog.
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Klejmont has difficulty with balance and memory as a result of spinal and head injuries and she relies on her dog to assist her with carrying things and getting up if she falls. She engaged the law firm to assist her with a personal injury lawsuit, but was told that she could not bring the dog into the firm’s office, the complaint says.
“Of all people, lawyers should know better. Individuals with disabilities are entitled to the same access to private businesses as everyone else, and it should be understood loud and clear that we will not tolerate discriminatory conduct,” said Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of New York.
In a statement to The Associated Press, law firm representatives said they acted appropriately and offered proper accommodation after the initial incident. But they said a lawyer involved acted independently and in violation of the firm’s policy when Klejmont was given trouble on a second occasion.