By Dan Goforth, Tulsa World, February 10, 2015
The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it had resolved a lawsuit between a Tulsa hotel and an Air Force veteran who sued after allegedly being denied a room because of his service dog.
The lawsuit, filed last year, alleged that on July 31, 2010, Jeffrey Crockett of Arlington, Texas, was driving to Tulsa with his family and a German shepherd service dog when he phoned the Days Inn and Conference Center, 8181 E. Skelly Drive, to attempt to book a room.
Crockett, the lawsuit alleged, was told the hotel would make no exceptions to its “no pets” policy, despite his protests that the dog was not a pet but a service animal.
Crockett, the lawsuit stated, uses a service dog for assistance with medical conditions including degenerative disc disease and demyelinating disease, which limit his mobility, and military “service-related impairments” including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a panic disorder.
A Justice Department news release states that Sairam Enterprises Inc. LLC, which owns the Days Inn (now known as Tuscany Inn), agreed to pay Crockett and his family $5,000 and will “provide its employees with training regarding the (Americans with Disabilities Act) and the protections it provides to guests with service animals.”
The lawsuit stated that when Crockett arrived at the hotel and attempted to explain that his dog was a service animal, he was told by an employee that the police would be notified if he didn’t leave the property. The incident, according to the lawsuit, made Crockett “unable to function at full capacity for a number of days following,” which triggered a debilitating panic attack.
Tulsa police eventually responded, at Crockett’s request, and referred him to another hotel, where he, his wife, four children and dog stayed.
Dylan Goforth 918-581-8451