Disability Law

Law Firm Says It Didn't Ban Client's Service Dog, Blames Partner Allergy, Worker Phobia for Issues

  • Print.

An upstate New York law firm sued by a former personal injury client whose service dog was refused entry blames a partner’s allergy and a worker’s phobia for issues with the animal, but says it tried to make amends and subsequently invited the German shepherd into its offices.

Attorney James Burke of Larkin Axelrod Ingrassia & Tetenbaum says an employee with a dog phobia violated the firm’s policy by refusing to allow the service animal to enter its Orange County offices, reports the New York Law Journal.

Unfortunately, a partner’s allergy had previously prevented the dog, Reicha, from accompanying its disabled owner into the office of attorney John Ingrassia, according to Burke and a federal lawsuit filed earlier this week in White Plains by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

However, Burke said, Ingrassia had promised, in writing, to include the service dog in future meetings in another room. When Larkin Axelrod learned of the subsequent incident with the phobic employee, it invited the client, Lauren Klejmont, to return to the firm with Reicha for an in-office meeting, but that invitation was rejected.

“She unfortunately declined to accept the offer,” Burke told the legal publication. “While the firm regrets that its efforts to repair the relationship with Ms. Klejmont were unsuccessful, it acted in good faith to protect and preserve her legal rights.”

Earlier coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Feds Sue Personal Injury Law Firm, Say It Banned Disabled Client’s Service Dog From Its Offices”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.