promotion image of download ymail app

Can I sue a Non Profit organization for violating ADA laws.?

I use a service dog and i have a brother in a state penitentiary. I have used the van service prior to getting my service dog. i already had my dog approved for visitation at the prison and have visited prior. i talked to the van service and they said i was on a trip and now are refusing me to go with my dog because i will not provide them with his training certificates and access test results and prove his certification. i offered a doctors letter and a photo of the dog in his gear and his service dog id. but they will not let up about seeing his certification.


It is illegal to ask for these papers. tell me if your faimly member had a self trained service dog which is legal. and my dog is not a program dog i trained him with classes and alot of my own work. if i give them "certification" paper work than they can ask anyother team. its illegal its written in the law you may not insist on certification before alloing a service dog to accompany its handler. i said i would give them his photo id in gear with service dog id number. and a copy of my doctors letter. it is illegal to depmand proof of certification because it is not a requirment. I am not going to shell out 50-500 dollars for some bs company on the net to certify my dog.

Update 2:

I am only worried about the van service. the prison asked for his paperwork and i know they most likley fell under different statues but they were happy with a copy of his id and my letter from the dr and such. they asked if i had proof he completed obedience i gave them that. the van service cannot ask for proof of certification they seem to think they can.

4 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Yes, you can sue. However, that is probably not going to resolve the current problem. ADA suits typically take about 3 years to wind their way through the system. And in order to sue, you'll have to provide the court with proof of disability and proof of the dog's training beyond what is generally required for public access. For court you'll need more than a doctor's letter and will have to submit your entire medical records. An ID card is actually meaningless since anyone can buy a fake one over the internet. So you'll need a representative of the agency that trained your dog to be prepared to testify.

    Usually the faster solution is to have your service dog agency contact them on your behalf. They should have someone on staff trained in dealing with these issues.

    I advise my clients to educate, mediate, then litigate. So start with education. Try giving them educational materials such as this one:

    You can also refer them to the US Department of Justice's ADA information line to find out their obligations under the ADA: 800 - 514 - 0301

    And you can send them a certified letter explaining that you are disabled and use a service dog and are requesting accommodations. Include a copy of the business brief and the infoline number. Include contact info for your state's human rights commission or attorney general. Ask for a reply in writing within 10 business days about whether they will accommodate you or if not, why not. Then you'll have the evidence you need to file a complaint with the Department of Justice or with your state's human rights commission. Filing on the state level is generally faster.

    Note that if you do actually sue it's going to cost you thousands of dollars. I got an estimate for one case starting at $7,000. I'm an advocate, not an attorney. My job is to try to help people avoid the lawsuit by resolving it through education and mediation first (which are faster and less costly).

    --- edited to add ---

    The transportation service and jail/prison are two separate things. The transportation service is covered under the ADA. The jail/prison is not, at least not in terms of a service dog. The jail actually can deny access for a service dog. But the transportation service cannot.

    --- edited to add ---

    No, the van service cannot require proof of certification/training. They fall under Title III of the ADA.

    The prison/jail itself falls under Title II and/or section 504 of the Rehab Act, and could easily raise a defense of fundamental alteration or direct threat over a service dog. Generally they wouldn't object to a visitor with one, but would to a prisoner with one. Legally it's a grey area.

    But the van can't claim either, especially since they've already suggested they would permit it with certification. That's where they are wrong. Here's an example of a shuttle bus falling under Title III of the ADA: That one doesn't specifically mention certification, but taken in conjunction with the Business Brief, I think it is compelling and that those two things alone might get them to change their position. So try sending them those and see what happens.

    Source(s): I'm a disability advocate specializing in service dog issues.
    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • bill j
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Yes you can sue but it is doubtful you can win. Even if you win the appeals court will probably overturn the decision. This could take years and will cost a small fortune.

    Unfortunately you are dealing with the government. Well, you are dealing with a Non Profit which is regulated by the government. And the government doesn't care about your problems or helping you find a solution. The most important thing to them is proper PAPERWORK. And until you submit the correct papers, probably in triplicate and to several agencies, they will deny you any relief. But don't worry, your tax dollars pay these bureaucrats to make your life miserable so they will never quit until they are satisfied.

    The only thing you can do is give them what they demand and thank God they are not allowed to shot you for bothering them while they are on break.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 10 years ago

    A law suit would take forever. Personally, I would call a disability advocacy organization. They have advocates that will educate them on the law, and if necessary take legal action. You are more likely to get this resolved quicker this way.

    You are correct, in the US, there is no certification of service dogs and it is illegal to ask for such documentation.

    Source(s): Disabled service dog handler/owner trainer
    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
  • 10 years ago

    well....heres the question, why are you not cooperating with them? if they are asking to see his training certificate then they are probably trying to verify that he is in fact what you say he is. they cant tell that he is a service dog based on a photograph. if you want them to follow ADA then you need to meet them half way. i think they WANT to fallow the ADA laws, but they also have the right to ask for certification if needed.

    in other words, you have no grounds to sue, since you are the one that isnt cooperating.

    • Commenter avatarLogin to reply the answers
Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.