Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And Adair County, Oklahoma

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBERS 204-59-3, 204-59-12, 204-59-25


BACKGROUND

        This matter was initiated by complaints filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12131-12134, with the United States Department of Justice ("Department of Justice") against Adair County, Oklahoma ("County"). The complaints were received by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, under the authority of 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F. The complainants allege that the programs, services, and activities offered in the Adair County Courthouse are not accessible to persons with mobility impairments.

        The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate fully the allegations of the complainants in this matter to determine the compliance of the County with title II of the ADA and the Department's implementing title II regulation, to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. ァ 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing civil suit in this matter.

        The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and Adair County, Oklahoma. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties hereby agree as follows:

  1. The ADA applies to the County because it is a "public entity" as defined by title II. 42 U.S.C. ァ 12131(1).
  2. The County owns and operates the Adair County Courthouse facility in the Town of Stilwell, Oklahoma.
  3. Under title II of the ADA, discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability, in the services, programs, or activities of the County is prohibited. 42 U.S.C. ァ 12132.
  4. Under title II of the ADA, each service, program, or activity that is provided by the County, when viewed in its entirety, must be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.150(a).
  5. Under title II of the ADA, the County must conduct an evaluation of its current services, policies, and practices, and the effects thereof, that do not or may not meet the requirements of title II. 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.105.
  6. Under title II of the ADA, the County must develop an ADA transition plan that describes structural changes to facilities that are necessary to achieve program accessibility. 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.105(d).
  7. The subject matter of this Agreement consists of:
    1. an evaluation of the County's current services, policies, and practices, and the effects thereof, that do not or may not meet the requirements of title II;
    2. an ADA transition plan that describes structural changes to facilities that are necessary to achieve program accessibility; and
    3. a written policy that will ensure that the services, programs, and activities that are provided in the County Courthouse building are readily accessible to and usable by persons with mobility impairments.

ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY THE COUNTY

  1. In order to ensure that proceedings held in the Adair County Courthouse are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with mobility disabilities, the County will adopt and implement the attached policy in Appendix A entitled, "Policy on Accessibility of Proceedings Held in the Adair County Courthouse" within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement.
  2. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the County will instruct all of its employees who work in the Adair County Courthouse on the procedures set forth in Appendix A of this Agreement.
  3. In order to inform members of the public of the provisions of title II and their applicability to the County's programs, services, and activities, the County will publish, within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the following notice or an equivalent, on two separate occasions in a newspaper of general circulation serving Adair County, Oklahoma:

            In accordance with the requirements of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the County of Adair ("County") will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in the County's services, programs, or activities. The County will provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, whenever necessary to ensure effective communication with members of the public who are deaf and hard of hearing. A person with a disability who requires an accommodation or an auxiliary aid or service to participate in a County program, service or activity, should contact the ADA Coordinator for the County of Adair at as far in advance as possible. The County will not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the cost of providing auxiliary aids/services or reasonable modifications of policy, such as retrieving items from locations that are open to the public but are not accessible to persons who use wheelchairs.
            A person with a disability who requires an accommodation or an auxiliary aid or service such as an assistive listening device or a sign language interpreter, to participate in a court proceeding to be held in the Adair County Courthouse should contact the court clerk for the County of Adair at as far in advance as possible. If a party is represented by counsel, it is the responsibility of the attorney to make such request on behalf of his/her client or witness.

Additionally, the County will post this notice in conspicuous locations in the Courthouse and Courthouse Annex within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement.

  • The County will provide a copy of the notice in paragraph 10 to any person upon request.
  • Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the County will submit to the Department a written evaluation of its current services, policies, and practices, and the effects thereof, that do not or may not meet the requirements of title II. In conducting its ADA self-evaluation, the County will provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate in the self-evaluation process by submitting comments. The self-evaluation will include the following:
    1. a list of the interested persons consulted;

    2. descriptions of areas examined and any problems identified; and

    3. descriptions of any modifications made, including copies of policies and procedures that have been adopted and implemented to ensure program accessibility.
  • The County will maintain its self-evaluation on file for public inspection for at least three years following completion of its self-evaluation.
  • Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the County will submit to the Department a transition plan that:
    1. describes structural changes to facilities that are necessary to achieve program accessibility in existing facilities, including the matters set forth in Appendix B that were identified during the Department's on-site investigation, and
    2. sets forth specific deadlines for completion of those structural changes, where the deadlines for matters identified in Appendix B will be no longer than 180 days from the effective date of this Agreement.
  • Within 210 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the County will submit a final written report to the Department summarizing the actions the County has taken pursuant to this Agreement. This report will include photographs, architectural plans, published notices, and copies of work statements.
  • IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

    1. If at any time the County desires to modify any portion of this Agreement because of changed conditions making performance impossible or impractical or for any other reason, it will promptly notify the Department in writing, setting forth the facts and circumstances thought to justify modification and the substance of the proposed modification. Until there is written Agreement by the Department to the proposed modification, the proposed modification will not take effect.
    2. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If it determines that this Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action seeking specific performance of the provisions of this Agreement in an appropriate Federal court, or such other action as the Department elects.
    3. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
    4. In the event that the County fails to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department as a temporary modification of the relevant terms of this Agreement, all terms of this Agreement shall become enforceable.
    5. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person by the County or the Department on request.
    6. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
    7. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, shall be enforceable. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the County's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
    8. This Agreement will remain in effect for two years from the effective date of this Agreement.

    For the County:


    By:__________________________   Date______________________



    For the United States:

    BILL LANN LEE,
    Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

    By:__________________________   Date______________________
          JOHN WODATCH, Chief
          RENEE WOHLENHAUS, Deputy Chief
          Disability Rights Section
          Civil Rights Division
          U.S. Department of Justice
          P.O. Box 66738
          Washington, DC 20035-6738



    APPENDIX A

    POLICY ON ACCESSIBILITY OF PROCEEDINGS
    HELD WITHIN THE ADAIR COUNTY COURTHOUSE

            The County of Adair (County) has adopted the following procedures so that services, programs, or activities that are provided in an inaccessible location in the Adair County Courthouse are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with mobility disabilities.

    COURT PROCEEDINGS

      PROCEEDING TO BE RELOCATED UPON 48 HOURS NOTICE

              If an individual with a mobility impairment chooses or is required to attend a proceeding (i.e., party, juror, attorney, witness, spectator) that is held in an inaccessible location in the Adair County Courthouse, the proceeding will be relocated to the Courthouse Annex courtroom after a request to relocate the court proceeding is made to the court clerk for the County at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled commencement of the proceeding.

      ACCESS TO PROCEEDINGS WITH LESS THAN 48 HOURS NOTICE

              If a participant (e.g., party, juror, attorney, witness) with a mobility impairment is required to attend a proceeding that is held in an inaccessible location in the Adair County Courthouse, and forty-eight (48) hours notice has not been provided to the court clerk when requesting relocation of a court proceeding to an accessible location, the proceeding will be relocated to an accessible location, if possible, or postponed until such proceeding can be relocated to an accessible location.

      DUTIES OF THE COURT CLERK

      Once a request to relocate a proceeding to an accessible location is received, the court clerk for the County will:

    1. contact the judge who will preside over the proceeding to inform him of the request to relocate the proceeding to the accessible courtroom in the Courthouse Annex;
    2. contact the judge who was scheduled to preside over proceedings in the accessible courtroom of the Courthouse Annex so that he or she is informed of the relocation of proceedings;
    3. contact parties, jurors, and attorneys who must be present at the proceedings to inform them of the new locations; and
    4. post written notice of the new location of the proceedings in a conspicuous location of both the Courthouse and Courthouse Annex.


    APPENDIX B

    Courthouse

      Signage -- Accessible entrance
              Although section 35.163(b) of the title II regulation requires that signage with the international symbol for accessibility be provided at all inaccessible entrances of a facility directing users to an accessible entrance, there is no signage at Courthouse entrances directing persons to the accessible Annex entrance.

    Courthouse Annex

    Parking
            Neither of the two accessible parking spaces has been designated to accommodate a lift-equipped van. See Standards ァ 4.1.2(5)(b), requiring that at least one accessible parking space be served by an access aisle at least 96 inches wide and be designated "van accessible" with a sign that will not be obscured by vehicle parked in that space.

    Doors -- Opening force -- Existing

      Entrance to the Courthouse Annex
              The interior vestibule door, which requires sixteen (16) lbs. of force to open, may prevent a person with a mobility impairment from entering the Courthouse Annex. See Standards ァ 4.13.11, requiring that the force for pushing or pulling open an interior hinged door not exceed five (5) lbs.

      Court Clerk's Office to the designated "accessible" restrooms
              The interior door between the Court Clerk's Office and the "accessible" restrooms, which requires ten (10) lbs of force, may prevent a person with a mobility impairment from traveling through the Courthouse Annex to the restroom. See Standards ァ 4.13.11, requiring that the force for pushing or pulling open an interior hinged door not exceed five (5) lbs.

    Service Counters -- Court Clerk's Office
            Although "chest-level" service counters are provided, there is no stable writing surface that is readily accessible to and usable by a person using a wheelchair. 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.150(a).

    Restrooms

      Women's restroom

        Signage

          Raised and Braille characters
                  A restroom with raised or Braille characters that would allow someone with a visual impairment to read the sign is not provided. See Standards ァ 4.30.4, requiring that a sign with raised and Braille characters be installed.

          Mounting location and height
                  A restroom sign is not located on the wall next to the door. See Standards ァ 4.30.6, requiring that a sign be installed on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door at a height of 60 inches above the finish floor to the centerline of the sign.

        Lavatories -- Exposed pipes and surfaces
                The hot water and drain pipes beneath the lavatory are not insulated to prevent contact. See Standards ァ 4.19.4, requiring that hot water and drain pipes under at least one lavatory be insulated or otherwise configured to protect against contact.

        Stalls

          Size and arrangement
                  Each designated stall does not provide sufficient maneuvering space for a person using a wheelchair (40-1/2" x 57"). See Standards ァ 4.17.3, figure 30(a), requiring that the dimensions of a standard toilet stall be at least 60 inches wide and 56 inches deep, relative to the orientation of the water closet.

          Grab bar -- length and positioning
                  The length of the grab bar to the rear of the water closet in the designated stall is not long enough to be usable by a person who has a mobility impairment (24-1/2"). See Standards ァ 4.17.6, figure 30(c), requiring that grab bars be at least 36 inches in length.

                  The position of the grab bar to the side of the water closet in the toilet stall does not extend to at least 54 inches from the rear wall and therefore may not be usable by a person who has a mobility impairment. (i.e., mounted so that the closest end of a 42" grab bar is 12 inches from the rear wall). See Standards ァ 4.17.6, figure 30(c), requiring that a side grab bar at least 42 inches in length be mounted so that it extends at least 54 inches from the rear wall.

      Men's restroom

        Signage

          Raised and Braille characters
                  A restroom sign with raised or Braille characters that would allow someone with a visual impairment to read the sign is not provided. See Standards ァ 4.30.4, requiring that a sign with raised and Braille characters be installed.

          Mounting location and height
                  A restroom sign is not located on the wall next to the door. See Standards ァ 4.30.6, requiring that a sign be installed on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door at a height of 60 inches above the finish floor to the centerline of the sign.

        Lavatories -- Exposed pipes and surfaces
                The hot water and drain pipes beneath the lavatory are not insulated to prevent contact. See Standards ァ 4.19.4, requiring that hot water and drain pipes under at least one lavatory be insulated or otherwise configured to protect against contact.

        Urinals
                The rim of the urinal is 25 inches above the finish floor. See Standards ァ 4.18.2, requiring that accessible urinals to be mounted such that the elongated rim is no higher than 17 inches above the finish floor.

        Stalls

          Size and arrangement
                  Each designated stall does not provide sufficient maneuvering space for a person using a wheelchair (34" x 57"). See Standards ァ 4.17.3, figure 30(a), requiring that the dimensions of a standard toilet stall be at least 60 inches wide and 56 inches deep, relative to the orientation of the water closet.

          Grab bar -- length and positioning
                  The length of the grab bar to the rear of the water closet in the designated stall is not long enough to be usable by a person who uses a wheelchair (24-1/2 inches). See Standards ァ 4.17.6, figure 30(c), requiring that grab bars be at least 36 inches in length.


    Courthouse Gazebo

      Accessible route -- Changes in level
              The Gazebo in front of the Courthouse is not accessible to persons using wheelchairs. See Standards ァ 4.3.8, requiring that changes in level greater than 1/2 inch along an accessible route be accomplished through the use of a ramp or platform lift complying with section 4.8 or section 4.11 of the Standards.

    >
    Updated August 6, 2015

    Was this page helpful?

    Was this page helpful?
    Yes No