HARRISBURG — A disabled woman is suing Panera Bread, alleging she was denied access to one of their restaurants for being accompanied by a service dog.
Jessica Traver of Clarks Summit filed a lawsuit Feb. 23 in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania against Panera Bread Company, Panera LLC, and Panera Bread Franchisee, John Doe, alleging violation of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
According to the complaint, Traver has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, and depressive disorder, and has been under the care of a psychiatrist for these conditions since Aug. 26, 2014. In September 2014, her treating psychiatrist recommended the plaintiff utilize a service dog for therapeutic assistance in public places, the lawsuit says.
On Nov. 20, 2015, the suit says, Traver attempted to enter a Panera Bread restaurant, 3570 Wilkes Barre Township Commons, Wilkes-Barre, and after entering the restaurant she was confronted by an employee who advised the plaintiff she was not allowed to enter while accompanied by the service dog.
Traver alleges she explained the necessity of the dog to the employee but was still asked to leave. At the time of the incident, the lawsuit states, the dog was a service animal as defined by the ADA, constituting the incident as a violation of the plaintiff’s rights.
Traver seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages and a trial by jury. She is represented by attorney Stephen T. O’Hanlon of The O’Hanlon Law Firm PC in Philadelphia.
U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania Case number 3:16-cv-00324-RDM