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Gipson v. Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits

United States District Court, N.D. Georgia

April 22, 2013

Taylor Gipson, Plaintiff,
v.
Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits et al, Defendants

For Taylor Gipson, Plaintiff: Allan Leroy Parks, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Parks Chesin & Walbert, P.C. -Atl, Atlanta, GA; Andrew Yancey Coffman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Parks Chesin & Walbert, Atlanta, GA.

For Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits, also known as Nashville Restaurant Management, LLC, Defendant: Dara L. DeHaven, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lauren House Zeldin, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart, P.C.-Atl, Atlanta, GA; Elizabeth P. Kuhn, William Grob, LEAD ATTORNEYS, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart - FL, Tampa, FL.

For Cobb County, Georgia, Defendant: Deborah L. Dance, Mark Alan Adelman, Office of Cobb County Attorney, Law Department, Marietta, GA.

OPINION

ORDER

J. OWEN FORRESTER, SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

This matter is before the court on Defendant Cobb County's motion to dismiss [15].

Page 1304

I. Background

A. Procedural History and Facts Alleged in Complaint

Plaintiff, Taylor Gipson, filed suit against Defendants Popeye's Chicken & Biscuits and Cobb County, Georgia contending that Defendants violated his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act when he was asked to leave a Popeye's Restaurant on account of the presence of his service dog. Plaintiff raised other causes of action against Popeye's Restaurant that are not relevant to the instant motion.

On Cobb County's motion to dismiss, the court accepts the facts as alleged in Plaintiff's complaint. Plaintiff contends that he is a 20-year old college student who suffers from Type I Diabetes and is entitled to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act. See Cmplt., ¶ ¶ 3, 6. Plaintiff uses a service dog named Bear who can detect high and low blood sugar levels in Plaintiff by smell. Id., ¶ 6. Bear can then alert Plaintiff to these dangerous blood sugar levels. Id.

On May 12, 2012, Bear alerted Plaintiff that his blood sugar was low. Id., ¶ ¶ 7-8. Plaintiff then entered the Popeye's restaurant to order food to correct his blood sugar level. Id., ¶ 8. After Plaintiff ordered, he took a table near the back door to wait for his food. Id. Bear lay quietly on the floor next to Plaintiff. Id.

After he sat down, Shanika Parks, who identified herself as the manager of the restaurant, came to Plaintiff's table. Id., ¶ 9. She asked if Bear was a " seeing eye" dog. Id., ¶ 10. Plaintiff responded " no" and Parks demanded that Plaintiff leave the restaurant because his dog was not allowed on the premises. Id. Plaintiff told Parks that Bear was a service dog and permitted in public establishments by federal law. Id., ¶ 11. Plaintiff explained how Bear helped him and pointed out that Bear wore a vest which identified him as a service dog. Id.

Parks " became agitated" when Plaintiff stated he had a right under the Americans with Disabilities Act to remain in the restaurant with Bear. Id., ¶ 12. Her " agitation escalated" when Plaintiff would not leave. Id. Parks stated that Plaintiff was " costing her customers" and " demanded" that Plaintiff and Bear " get out of her restaurant." Id. Despite Parks's " escalating hostility and agitation," Plaintiff " calmly" explained to Parks why he was legally ...


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