- Parties . The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America (the "United States") and Christy James. Christy James is the lessor of property located at County Road 650 East, Montgomery, Indiana ("the Property") and owns and operates Country Ruffles and Victorian Lace ("Country Ruffles") doing business at the Property that is the subject of this Agreement.
- Nature of Complaint . This matter was initiated by the United States by virtue of the Attorney General's authority to initiate compliance reviews to investigate possible violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12188(b); 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 36.502. The complaint was investigated by the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana, under the authority granted by 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12188(b).
- Applicability of the ADA. The ADA applies to the Country Ruffles because it is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12181(7), and Christy James is the lessor of a place of public accommodation pursuant to 28 C.F.R 36.104.
- Purpose of Agreement. The purpose of this Agreement is to resolve certain ADA violations at Country Ruffles, set forth below, identified during the compliance review conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Country Ruffles agrees to resolve these violations in a manner that is consistent with Title III of the ADA, ï½§ï½§ 12181-89, and the Title III regulations of the Department of Justice, 28 C.F.R. Pt. 36, including the Standards for Accessible Design, Appendix A (the "Standards"). Christy James denies violating the ADA, and makes this settlement for purposes of resolving disputed claims; this is not an admission of liability.
- Actions to be Taken. Christy James agrees to take the following actions within 30 days of the effective date of this agreement:
- modify policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal within Country Ruffles by an individual with a disability pursuant to 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 36.302(c)(1). For purposes of this agreement, "service animal" means any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including, but not limited to, guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing to intruders or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, or fetching dropped items;
- post in a conspicuous public place in Country Ruffles, for a period of not less than 180 days, a notice expressly stating that service animals are permitted within Country Ruffles;
- maintain an accessible route throughout Country Ruffles of at least 36" in width, in compliance with 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 36.304 and 4.3 of the Standards;
- read the brochures entitled "ADA Guide for Small Businesses" and "Commonly Asked Questions about Service Animals in Places of Business," both of which are attached to this Settlement Agreement, and acknowledge in writing to the undersigned representatives of the United States that Christy James and any and all employees of Country Ruffles have read and understand the same; and
- pay $100 in damages to complainant Kriss Parker. Said payment should be made by check or money order payable to Kriss Parker and submitted to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Indiana, 46 East Ohio Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204.
- Future Alterations. Christy James agrees that all future alternations undertaken at Country Ruffles shall comply with Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12181-89, and the Title III regulations of the Department of Justice, 28 C.F.R. Pt. 36, including the standards.
- Progress Report/Inspections. Forty-five days following the effective date of this agreement, Christy James will submit a progress report to the United States Attorney detailing the actions taken to comply with this Agreement, including a copy of the notice posted pursuant to paragraph 5(b) of this Agreement and all steps taken to maintain an accessible route of at least 36" in width as required by this Agreement. This report also shall include a copy of any modified policies, practices, or procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability. In addition, Christy James shall permit representatives of the Department of Justice to physically inspect Country Ruffles and its policies, practices, or procedures related to the use of a service animal without notice to Christy James.
- Agreement Not to Sue. Provided that Christy James fully complies with all terms of this Agreement, the United States will not bring a civil action to enforce the ADA as it relates to any alleged violations specifically addressed in paragraph 5 of this Agreement. However, this shall not limit the United States' ability to enforce this Agreement as set forth in paragraph 9 of this Agreement. Nor does this Agreement prevent the United States from investigating and/or pursuing other potential ADA violations that may involve Country Ruffles
- Enforcement. If the United States believes that this Agreement or any requirement in this Agreement has been violated, it may institute a civil action in the Southern District of Indiana or any other appropriate court to enforce the terms of this Agreement and seek other relief. If the Court finds that this Agreement has been violated, Christy James agrees that such a finding shall establish a lack of good faith on the part of herself and/or Country Ruffles, and further agrees to pay a stipulated penalty equal to the maximum monetary penalty provided by 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12188(b)(2), in addition to any other penalties or relief that may be authorized or that the court may award.
- Successors in Interest. In the event that Christy James transfers, sells, assigns, or otherwise releases her interest in some or all of Country Ruffles, this Agreement shall be binding on all subsequent successors, assigns, owners, and/or operators of Country Ruffles, and Christy James agrees to give timely notice of this Agreement to prospective persons/entities prior to any such transfer or sale.
- Non-Waiver. Failure by the United States to enforce any provision(s) of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to do so with regard to any other provision(s) of this Agreement.
- Advice of Counsel. Christy James acknowledges that she has been advised that this is a legally binding document, and that she has sought the advice of legal counsel before entering into this Agreement.
- Entire Agreement. This Agreement sets forth the complete agreement between the parties. In entering into this Agreement, neither the United States nor Christy James relies on any representation or statement not set forth herein.
- Authority to Bind. A signor of this document in a representative capacity for a partnership, limited partnership, limited partnership, corporation, or other entity, represents that he or she is authorized to bind such partnership, corporation, or other entity to this Agreement.
or Christy James. Nor does this Agreement otherwise relieve Country Ruffles or Christy James from fully complying with the ADA.
For the United States:
Judith A. Stewart
United States Attorney
Tim A. Baker
For Country Ruffles and Victorian Lace:
Attorney for Christy James/Country Ruffles and Victorian Lace