The California Court of Appeals for the Second District recently reversed the lower court’s holding that plaintiffs lacked standing to sue a hotel that refused to rent a room to a parapalegic unless she paid a fee for her service dog. The appeals court held that the lower court erroneously sustained the defendants’ demurrers, incorrectly finding that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue.
The lawsuit arose from an incident that occurred at a hotel owned and managed by defendants Bruce and Alfred Yasmeh, American Property Management, and INE Capital Holdings. Plaintiffs John Flowers and Seth and Kody Messmer filed suit in November 2013 after visiting the hotel. Flowers is a parapalegic and uses a service dog. Osborne is Flowers’ wife, and the Messmers are Flowers’ stepsons. The plaintiffs alleged that they were refused to rent a hotel room unless they paid a non-refundable cleaning fee for the service dog. Hotel management allegedly demanded them to pay an additional $220 for the cleaning fee. (The hotel room itself was only $80.) The plaintiffs left the hotel without paying the fee.