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La Mesa Travelodge refuses to allow disabled woman's service animal to stay with her

Travelodge in La Mesa being sued for violating Americans with Disabilities Act.
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A Travelodge in La Mesa is being sued by a deaf woman because they would not allow her service dog “Chocolate,” to stay in the hotel room with her.

Naomi Sheneman of New York is legally deaf and primarily uses American Sign Language (ASL) to communicate.

According to the complaint filed by the New York law firm Eisenberg and Baum, Sheneman arrived at the La Mesa hotel where the staff seemed less than friendly once they realized she had a dog even after the plaintiff explained it was a service animal. 

The hotel insisted that she sign a damage policy before they could accommodate her, and after she refused, citing her rights through the Americans with Disabilities Act, they persisted further.

According to the Act, a hotel may charge a person with a disability a service fee if it is found afterward that the animal caused damage, but only if they follow that same policy with non-disabled people.

It is unlawful for any hospitality establishment to impose a deposit or surcharge as a condition for a service animal to stay with their owner.

The complaint states the desk clerk contacted his manager and produced the same information as above, but when Sheneman pointed out that she already signed a damage policy form for the room, and that the extra one they were asking for was specifically for animals, and was discriminatory, the clerk became agitated. 

Sheneman says in the complaint that she began to fold up the second form to keep for further inspection, but the desk clerk tried to grab it from her, ripping it in the process.

The plaintiff was able to keep most of the form, at which point the hotel asked her to leave.

Sheneman asked that the hotel refund the  $185.53 she spent on the reservation, but was told they couldn't do that because she used a thrid-party booking service. 

She was able to find accommodations elsewhere. 

The complaint accuses Travelodge of violating Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12181 et seq.; the Unruh Civil Rights Act (“Unruh Act”), Cal. Civ. Code § 51; the California Disabled Persons Act (“DPA”), Cal Civ. Code § 54 et seq.; and other state and common law causes of action.

This article now reflects an updated Q&A Americans with Disabilities Act link. This update does not detract from the integrity of the original story. The Q&A referenced in the article is taken directly from the filed complaint.