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Attorneys explain lawsuit filed against Rogers Plaza

Posted at 9:38 PM, Feb 12, 2019

WYOMING, Mich. — Attorneys representing the family of Claire Dykstra, a 2-year-old girl who has a disability, say Rogers Plaza discriminated against Claire when employees asked her to leave the mall at the end of 2018.

Claire used to go to Rogers Plaza regularly with her physical therapist to use her walker. The lawsuit claims this action violates Claire’s rights under federal and state statues.

“So what this lawsuit alleges, is that the actions taken by the mall, which was to tell her she couldn’t sit down, that she’s really not allowed to do her physical therapy there, violated the statute,” said Scott Noto, the attorney representing Claire’s parents.

She is just learning to walk because she has a rare brain disorder that interrupts the communication from the left side to the right side of her brain, which affects her motor skills.

The lawsuit alleges Claire should be able to walk in the mall, just as any other person who would go to the mall to walk for exercise.

“That’s why we have laws like this. That’s why the (Americans with Disabilities Act) was passed in 1990,” said attorney Theodore Westbrook, who is representing Claire’s parents.

Claire’s parent’s attorneys also want to make something clear: there is no payday in sight for the Dykstra family. Saying, that’s simply not an option for ADA lawsuits in terms of settlement.

“Plaintiffs cannot get money damages. It’s just not available to them. Any idea that the family is looking for a payday out of this, it’s just not true,” Westbrook said.

Rather, this family is filing the lawsuit because of the principle of the thing.

“Hopefully, one benefit of a lawsuit of this nature, it encourages people to address these types of things. It also gives businesses an idea of what’s proper under federal and state laws, and that’s important,” Noto said.

Attorneys representing Rogers Plaza did not respond to FOX 17’s request for comment regarding the pending lawsuit.

Previously, attorney Jason Chozick, who represents the mall’s owners, told FOX 17 children sitting on the floor pose as a safety risk and that the mall is not the place to conduct physical therapy.