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Macon County, Tennessee Resolves ADA Complaint Over Courthouse Access for a Disabled Individual with a Service Dog

May 21, 2021
Source: U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)

Macon County, Tennessee has resolved a complaint that it violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by denying a disabled individual accompanied by a service dog access to a public court proceeding, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Mary Jane Stewart for the Middle District of Tennessee.

“The ADA prohibits disabled individuals with service dogs from being treated differently than non-disabled individuals in all manners of access to public facilities,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Stewart. “We appreciate the prompt attention by Macon County to resolve these issues and ensure that all individuals with disabilities have equal access to the courthouse and that Macon County complies with the ADA.”

In December 2020, an individual with a disability recognized under the ADA attempted to enter the Macon County Courthouse in Lafayette, Tennessee, with a service dog to attend a public court proceeding. The Macon County General Sessions Judge would not allow the service dog to be permitted in his courtroom. Although Macon County received a complaint about the incident, no resolution was reached. The complaint was then brought to the attention of the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate whether an ADA violation occurred.

To resolve the complaint, Macon County entered into a Letter of Resolution whereby it agreed to post signage in the entry area to the courthouse and on the court’s public website indicating that service dogs are permitted in the courthouse. Macon County also will provide training to courthouse employees on the ADA and distribute DOJ guidance on allowing access to individuals with service dogs.

The Letter of Resolution does not constitute a finding by the United States that Macon County is in full compliance with the ADA, nor does it constitute an admission by Macon County of fault or noncompliance with the ADA.

General information about the ADA, is available through the ADA information line at 800-514-0301 (voice), 800-514-0383 (TTY), or on the ADA homepage at If you believe your civil rights have been violated, including ADA rights, you may submit a report to the Department of Justice at

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anica C. Jones and Kara F. Sweet represented the United States in this matter.

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