Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

May 9, 2013

Restaurant to pay $60K for ejecting kids with skin condition

WESTLAND (AP) — A Detroit-area restaurant will pay $60,000 for telling a family to leave because the children had a genetic skin condition, the U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday.

The department sued the Golden Corral in February, saying the Westland restaurant violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“No one should be excluded from participating in the basic activities of daily living on account of fears of their disability, nor should children be shamed from going out in public,” Justice Department civil rights lawyer Eve Hill said in a statement. “We are confident today’s settlement sends that message.”

Danielle Duford of Garden City took her four girls to the buffet restaurant in May 2011. The lawsuit says they paid but soon were asked to leave when other customers noticed the skin of Duford’s 14-month-old daughter.

Three of her children have epidermolysis bullosa, which causes blisters to form on the skin in response to minor injuries and temperature changes.

“Despite Duford informing the restaurant manager of her children’s disability and repeatedly emphasizing that they did not have a contagious disease, the manager required the family to immediately leave the restaurant, claiming that he had received complaints from other customers,” the department said.

To settle the lawsuit, the restaurant has agreed to pay $50,000 to the family and a $10,000 fine, as well as training employees in the disabilities law, the Justice Department said.

The Associated Press left a phone message for restaurant lawyer Michael Kavanaugh seeking comment Wednesday.

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