Society

Disabled Minnesota Man Sues McDonald’s For Throwing Him Out Over Service Dog

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A 52-year-old Minnesota man with muscular dystrophy filed a federal lawsuit against a Minneapolis McDonald’s after he was repeatedly confronted about his service dog, Max.

Robert Mingo is seeking unspecified damages and wants the franchise to be required to train and educate employees about the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The suit names both the franchise and the global corporation, claiming that twice he was confronted and humiliated at the restaurant because of his service dog, although he was eventually served after both instances.

Mingo says a manager ordered him not to sit in the dining area because of his dog, stating “I am the law,” a comment which allegedly drew laughter from other customers.

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Mingo is unable to walk and has limited use of his arms and hands, according to the suit. Max, a border collie-springer spaniel mix, helps him to open and close doors, pick up laundry and take off his clothes. He was wearing a service vest when Mingo took him into McDonald’s.

According to the suit, the first incident occurred in August 2012, when he was told at the counter he wouldn’t be served. He then rode his wheelchair through the drive-through and was told, “We don’t serve those things in the drive-through.”

Eventually the restaurant served Mingo, but forbid him from ever coming back.

In May 2013, he returned to the restaurant and his order was taken without issue, but then a manager tried to throw him out.

Mingo said he was waiting for his food, when the manager demanded to see documentation proving Max is a service dog. Mingo said his wheelchair was all the documentation he needed.

“Fine, get your food and get out of here,” the manager allegedly said. “You can’t go in the dining area with the dog.”

“The law says I can,” Mingo told him.

“I am the manager here, and I am the law,” the manager said.

Under the 24-year-old ADA, state and local governments, businesses and nonprofit organizations must offer the same service to any person with a service animal that they already provide to the general public.

Tim Baylor, the owner of the location, said in a statement that he takes “complaints like this seriously [and] we do our best to provide a great customer experience to every customer.”

Mingo has had Max for three and a half years.

“Man, I love this dog. I’d cry like a baby if anything happened to this dog,” Mingo told CBS Minnesota.

Sources: Star Tribune, CBS Minnesota