In May 2017, an 11-year-old boy named J.D. and his dad went on a class trip to Colonial Williamsburg. J.D. can't eat gluten, so he brought safe food to eat for lunch. Reports say he was told he could not eat the food he brought inside the attraction's restaurant.
According to a lawsuit filed by J.D.'s family, staff and management told J.D. and his father they had to leave the restaurant immediately if he was going to eat his own food. J.D. then went outside where it was raining to eat separately from his class.
J.D.'s family sued Colonial Williamsburg based on discrimination against someone with a disability. On May 31, 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals of the Fourth Circuit ruled in favor of J.D. and his family.
This ruling impacts people with food allergies, celiac disease and non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Allowing people to bring in safe food into a public place may be a necessary and reasonable accommodation. Food allergies are a disability under that Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).
The Washington Post has reported more details about the ruling.
Mary Vargas of the law firm Stein & Vargas, LLP, also posted about the ruling on their Facebook page: