Partner R. Armen McOmber and Associate Austin B. Tobin represent Christine Gallinaro, and her 15-year-old disabled son, J.G., in a Law Against Discrimination lawsuit against Cinemark Hazlet 12, a movie theater located in Hazlet, New Jersey as well as that theater’s manager, Nicole Nicolet, and assistant manager, Brandon Mansueto. The lawsuit, which was filed in Monmouth County Superior Court, alleges violations of New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination. On behalf of her disabled son, Ms. Gallinaro seeks compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs.
On June 16, 2023, Ms. Gallinaro and J.G., her 15-year-old special needs son who is diagnosed with Autism, traveled to Cinemark Hazlet 12 to see a movie. During their visit, J.G. needed to use the restroom. Since the movie theater did not have a family restroom, and given that Ms. Gallinaro’s husband was not with them, she took her disabled son to the woman’s restroom. However, as they left the women’s restroom, the location’s manager angrily approached them and shouted discriminatory remarks directed towards the obviously disabled J.G., asserting that “he shouldn’t be in here [referring to the women’s restroom]” and that a “grown” man should not be in the women’s restroom. The manager then doubled down on her discriminatory rhetoric by (1) loudly exclaiming in the theater’s crowded lobby that “this [referring to the women’s restroom] is not a transgender bathroom”; (2) ordering Ms. Gallinaro and her son to leave the premises, and (3) outrageously directing the assistant manager to call the police to have them removed from the theater. Both the assistant manager and the movie theater’s security guards then publicly humiliated Ms. Gallinaro and her son by surrounding them in a hostile and confrontational demeanor. The assistant manager ultimately did, in fact, call the police to have them removed from the premises.
“The allegations are very disturbing. As alleged in the Complaint, Ms. Gallinaro’s 15-year-old son, who is diagnosed with Autism and severe speech delays, was traumatized by blatantly discriminatory conduct on the part of Defendants on June 16, 2023 simply because he needed to use the bathroom while seeing a movie with his mother. We stand shoulder to shoulder with our clients in exposing this outrageous and unlawful behavior.” R. Armen McOmber, Esq., McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.