The Colonial Williamsburg case is one of a child, J. D., on a school field trip to Colonial Williamsburg. The child is not diagnosed with celiac but “J.D.’s family history is positive for either celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity.” J.D.’s parents notified the school of his health issues. The restaurant, Shields Tavern, in Colonial Williamsburg consisted of a meal and an educational portion or a way to experience colonial American life.
J.D. and his father arrived at the restaurant while on the field trip and began to prepare their from home meal. They were offered a gluten free meal. In the past they had eaten gluten free meals at restaurants but were often ill with symptoms consistent with gluten ingestion. The staff at the restaurant said it was a health code violation for them to bring in their own food and requested they eat outside. The two ate outside in the rain.
Initially the case was thrown out on summary judgement saying they were offered a gluten free meal and there was no ADA violation. On appeal, the judge specifically states, “the question whether granting J.D.’s request would fundamentally alter the nature of Shields Tavern’s services may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party. Accordingly, this issue [sic] is for a jury to decide.”
The dissenting judge says, “The majority’s almost per se rule forces restaurants throughout the Fourth Circuit to give up control over their most valuable asset: the food they serve.”
The case returned to a lower court and an undisclosed settlement was reached. A jury never heard the case therefore the guidelines from the DOJ from the Leslie University remain as guidelines.
Making a kid with food allergies eat outside in the rain is the headline on this case and awful. It pits the needs of those with food allergies, especially those with gluten issues against a restaurant whose only business is providing food. Which needs prevail? Tell me what you think.
Decision from the Fourth Circuit of Appeals…https://www.ca4.uscourts.gov/opinions/181725.P.pdf