J.D. v. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

J.D., by his father and next friend, filed suit against the restaurant for violating the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the Rehabilitation Act, and the Virginians with Disabilities Act. The restaurant refused to allow J.D., a child on a strict gluten-free diet, to eat his homemade gluten free meal inside the restaurant, making him eat his meal outside and apart from the rest of his classmates. The Fourth Circuit vacated the district court's grant of summary judgment to the restaurant. The court held that, while the district court correctly determined that J.D. has raised a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether he is disabled within the meaning of the ADA, the district court erred in finding as a matter of law that J.D.'s proposed modification was not necessary to have an experience equal to that of his classmates. In this case, the district court incorrectly overlooked the testimony that J.D. repeatedly became sick after eating purportedly gluten-free meals prepared by commercial kitchens. Therefore, there was a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether the restaurant's proposed accommodation (by making him a gluten-free meal) sufficiently accounts for his disability; whether J.D.'s requested modification was reasonable; and whether granting J.D.'s request would fundamentally alter the nature of the restaurant experience. View "J.D. v. Colonial Williamsburg Foundation" on Justia Law