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Wawa Pays Patrick Stark $12,500 To Settle Service Dog Lawsuit

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Patrick Stark, a New Jersey resident, settled a claim with Wawa over allegedly being denied service because he was accompanied by a service dog.
Patrick Stark, a New Jersey resident, settled a claim with Wawa over allegedly being denied service because he was accompanied by a service dog.

The Wawa convenience store chain has paid a New Jersey man $12,500 to settle a legal complaint that it allegedly denied him service because he had a service dog with him, according to the New Jersey attorney general's office.

Patrick Stark, 33, of Millville, alleges that the servers at a Wawa store there refused to sell him a sandwich on June 13 unless he took his service dog outside. He said that after he tried to explain that it was illegal for them to refuse to serve him, and even showed paperwork proving that the dog was a service dog, a store manager told him he needed to leave. Wawa even called the police, Stark told CBS Philly.

In addition to paying Stark, Wawa has agreed to post signs on its New Jersey stores noting that service dogs are welcome and to train its New Jersey employees to welcome service dogs, according to the New Jersey attorney general's office. But Wawa has not admitted any wrongdoing.

Stark, a military veteran and self-employed glass artist, has needed a service dog ever since he was dealt a brain injury during a mugging three years ago, according to CBS Philly and the Associated Press. His service dog alerts him whenever he is about to have a seizure and has saved his life by enabling him to avoid them.

"Rarely do I get emotional at all, but this was a really sad experience for me," Stark told CBS Philly.

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