District Court Judge Alonzo B. Coleman ruled Monday that Iris Andros, co-owner of Zorba's restaurant, must write a 10-page book report on guide dogs and the disabled before April 2. The ruling came in response to a discrimination suit brought by a blind man who was denied entrance to Zorba's by Andros on Oct 7.
Coleman said he plans to read the book report book aloud at Andros' next court appearance, which is the same date that the report is due. Andros could face further punishment depending on whether the report satisfies Coleman.
The civil dispute stems from an incident when David Oberhart, a visually impaired man, approached Zorba's restaurant and was denied entrance by Andros because he was accompanied by his guide dog.
Oberhart said he told Andros that he was blind and that he needed a guide dog to see, but he said Andros did not listen. "We are concerned that she has not learned from her lesson," he said.
Kim Steffan, Oberhart's attorney, said Andros' book report will play a significant role in her upcoming court date. "What she writes in her book report will influence her sentencing," Steffan said. "And whether or not she had gained any perspective or knowledge from writing the report."
Steffan also said the penalty for Andros' crime could be either a fine of up to $200 or a suspended jail sentence and community service.
But Coleman said his ruling is not about penalizing Andros but making her aware that what she did was wrong.
"The book report is not to be a punishment but a learning experience for her," he said.
Coleman said he has used this as a successful type of punishment for similar situations before.