July 14, 2005.
A lawyer and his ex-wife have made a fortune by suing hotel and restaurant chains for not letting them in with their 'assistance' dog - a massive Rottweiler.
Lynne Stites, who has been barred from practising law after masterminding a massive insurance scam, and his disabled ex-wife Emma Miller are thought to be behind at least 21 eerily similar discrimination claims in the Los Angeles area. In each case it is alleged that either Miller or one of her associates would be denied entry of a hotel or restaurant after insisting that the snarling Rottweiler dragging them along the pavement was a vital "assistance dog". Miller claimed that in several instances she was refused use of a toilet (as nervous managers refused to let the dog savage other guests), and she then sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars claiming that she had soiled herself.
Although many of the hotels paid large sums in out of court settlements, some have subsequently claimed that Stites and Miller had been supplying Rottweilers to other disabled people who made similar claims.
The Marriott hotel chain chose to face Miller in court, armed with a videotape that showed her Rottweiler couldn't obey simple commands such as 'sit', let alone guide her to the local newsagents. They also pointed out that she was probably exaggerating her disability since she had recently broken her leg lugging heavy bags of fertilizer from the back of a truck (for which she tried to sue Mazda). The judge agreed and told the pair to pay Marriott a whopping $500,000 in legal fees and sanctions.
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