Securitas & Kaiser Blamed for Worsened PTSD
LOS ANGELES (CN) – A disabled woman claims Kaiser refused to let her on its premises with her service dog, in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Susan Gianelli sued the SoCal Permanente Medical Group dba Kaiser Permanente and Securitas Security Service USA dba Securitas.
Gianelli, who suffers from PTSD and major depression, says she brought her service dog, Ruby, with her to the Kaiser facility at Goldleaf Circle to pick up medical documents from her doctor.
While she was waiting for an elevator, Will Chisholm, one of the security officers on site, approached her and told her that Ruby was not allowed inside the building because “ ‘the dog was not a service animal’ and ‘may be full of fleas,’” the complaint states.
Chisholm is not listed as a party to the complaint.
“Mr. Chisholm then followed plaintiff into the elevator and berated her for bringing her service animal in the building. Despite plaintiff’s request that Mr. Chisholm not enter into the elevator, he continued to follow the plaintiff and continue his rant. Thus, Mr. Chisholm’s actions exacerbated the plaintiff’s disabilities and put her in fear of imminent attack. Mr. Chisholm then inexplicably called the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to have plaintiff arrested and/or removed from the building," the complaint states.
Gianelli says she got the documents from her doctor as quickly as possible and then returned to the downstairs lobby, where she told a Kaiser supervisor what had happened. A short time later a supervisor with Securitas came to talk to her and told her that Chisholm had simply been “doing his job” and was “enforcing policy,” according to the complaint.
As she was explaining that any policy that prevents a disabled person from having their service animal with them is illegal, a deputy with the Sheriff’s Department arrived and talked to her briefly. Gianelli was so shaken up by the entire incident that she went straight home in attempt to recover, the complaint states.
Worse still, Gianelli says, a similar incident occurred about a month later when her doctor told her she could not bring her service dog to group therapy sessions even though Kaiser is responsible for diagnosing her with the need for a service animal and prescribing one to her.
Gianelli seeks a declaration that Kaiser and Securitas violated her rights as a disabled person, an injunction preventing them from engaging in further discrimination, and punitive, treble, and exemplary damages for civil rights violations, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and assault.
She is represented by Danielle Al-Chalati with Brown & Lipinsky of Chino Hills.