Ex-Marine awarded $28K in service dog discrimination case

Juan Alonzo-Miranda claimed discrimination over workplace service dog accommodations

By Paul Venema - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - After deliberating for 15 hours over three days, a federal jury awarded disabled former Marine Juan Alonzo-Miranda $28,600 for lost wages and pain and suffering. 

Alonzo-Miranda suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of three tours of duty in Iraq.

"The jury made a right decision not only for my case here but for others," Alonzo-Miranda said.

In 2013, Alonzo-Miranda's suit alleged his employer Schlumberger Technologies Inc. initially denied him permission to have his service dog "Goldie" accompany him to work. And he claimed that when the company finally relented and accommodated his request, he was treated like "a second-class citizen."

"At times I felt hopeless, helpless," he said.  

He relied on his dog to help him cope with anxiety and panic attacks as a result of PTSD.

Though pleased with the jury's verdict, Alonzo-Miranda said that the trial was about more than money. He wanted to create an awareness about PTSD and to help people realize that it was a very real war injury.

And he wanted to tell other veterans that PTSD is a very real injury and nothing to be ashamed of. He said it is important to help them understand that they can overcome the stigma often associated with the injury.

Alonzo-Miranda said he is coping and trying to stay positive and gives credit to his dog and his wife.

"There's no magic pill or shot to cure PTSD," he said. "If there is, let me know. I would be the first to take that."

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