Cathedral City, CA – What started as a long-awaited vacation, ended up being the most traumatic, humiliating, and stressful experience of Thu Hoang and Calvin Haugen’s lives.

October 5, 2019, prior to check-in, Mr. Hoang called the Travelodge by Wyndham hotel in Cathedral City (67495 East Palm Canyon Drive) to request a first-floor room to accommodate a disabled senior with a service dog (Mr. Haugen). Mr. Hoang and Mr. Haugen arrived at the hotel later that day, along with a female friend.

Mr. Hoang went inside the lobby to check-in and advised Michael Lewis, the General Manager, that he was checking in with a service dog. Mr. Lewis became enraged and told Mr. Hoang that no dogs were allowed at the hotel. Mr. Hoang explained that it was a service dog, which they were legally entitled to check-in. Mr. Lewis then grabbed a stick from behind the desk and chased Mr. Hoang out of the hotel lobby. While doing so, he yelled gay slurs and told him to “go back to China,” even though Mr. Hoang is Vietnamese-American.

The incident was witnessed by Mr. Haugen, their female friend, and other hotel guests. They left the hotel, checked into another hotel, then reported the incident to the police.

The lawsuit, which was filed in Riverside County on March 9, 2020, lists the Travelodge hotel, Wyndham, and Mr. Lewis as defendants for the various civil rights violations and violation of the disabled persons act, based on the actions against the plaintiffs due to their sexual orientation, race, and disability.

Additional online complaints regarding the Travelodge hotel’s refusal to check-in service animals have been discovered.

“This was a blatant and egregious act of discrimination against my clients. It has caused them significant emotional trauma and subsequent health issues. The Travelodge has no business operating with these business practices.”

Attorney Tom Yu

Court proceedings are scheduled to begin this August at the Palm Springs Courthouse.

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