ALLENTOWN, Pa., Sept. 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Kitay Law Offices is representing a Northampton mother who is suing the Walt Disney Company after her 7-year-old autistic son was denied entry to the Disney Store at the Lehigh Valley Mall because he was not wearing a facemask.
Like many people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, the boy is extremely sensitive to touch, especially on his face. For that reason, the lawsuit says that the boy's mother, Shea Emanuel, decided after experimenting with different face coverings, not to force him to wear a mask in public because he would become very distraught.
Emanuel took her sons to the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township last month on a birthday outing for the boy's younger brother. Emanuel explained to the store manager that her son is autistic, which prevents him from wearing a facemask. But, the Disney Store manager would not allow the boy into the store, the lawsuit claims.
Attorney William Mansour of Kitay Law Offices in Allentown says "The goal of the lawsuit is to educate Disney and other companies that as places open to the public they are required to make accommodations to people with disabilities, including in their COVID-19 safety policies."
A statewide order issued in July by Pennsylvania Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine requires facemasks to be worn in public places. However, the order contained an exception; people with medical conditions such as mental health conditions or disabilities which might prevent them from wearing a mask are excluded from the statewide mask order. There is no requirement to provide proof of a medical condition.
Emanuel's lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Allentown says that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, a store is considered a public accommodation that must be accessible to those with disabilities. Furthermore, the suit claims the Disney Store was not legally required to enforce the state's face covering order because the autistic boy was exempt. He could have been permitted inside because the store was already limiting the number of customers permitted to shop due to COVID-19, thus reducing the chance he would encounter others.
Kitay Law Offices is located at 1810 Union Boulevard in Allentown. In practice for over twenty-five years, the law firm focuses on Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation, Employment Law, DUI, Criminal Defense, and Immigration with offices in Philadelphia, Lehigh, Chester, Berks, Luzerne, and Franklin counties. Their bilingual staff provides service in both English and Spanish.
SOURCE Kitay Law Offices
These press releases may also interest you