Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The Best Western Motel In Mequon, Wisconsin

COMPLAINT NUMBER 202-85-11

INTRODUCTION

  1. This matter was initiated pursuant to a complaint received by the United States Department of Justice against the Best Western Motel in Mequon, Wisconsin, ("the Mequon Best Western" or "the Motel"). The complainant, Mr. XXXX XXXX, states that he called the Motel on November 3, 1995, to make lodging reservations for the night of December 31, 1995. He states that he was told the standard room rate was $77. Mr. XXXX alleges that when he told the manager, Mr. XX XXX, that he would need an accessible room, he was told that an accessible room would cost $160 because the only accessible rooms were deluxe rooms with whirlpools. The complaint alleges that accessible rooms at the Motel are not available at the standard rate of $77. Instead, the only wheelchair-accessible rooms are deluxe rooms costing $160.

    The Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice ("the Department"), has investigated the complaint and the physical accessibility of the Mequon Best Western under title III of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12181-12188 ("the ADA" or "the Act").

JURISDICTION AND PARTIES TO SETTLEMENT

  1. The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America ("United States") and the Mequon Best Western.
  2. The Motel, located at 10330 North Port Washington Road 13W in Mequon, Wisconsin, is a privately owned and operated place of lodging with 55 rooms. Therefore, it is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of title III of the ADA. See 42 U.S.C. ァ 12181(7)(A); 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.104.
  3. Title III of the ADA requires that places of public accommodation that are designed and constructed for first occupancy after January 26, 1993, be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities in accordance with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A ("the Standards"). The Standards require that accessible sleeping rooms in places of transient lodging, such as hotels, be dispersed among the various classes of sleeping accommodations available. Standards ァ 9.1.4(1).
  4. The subjects of this Settlement Agreement are the pricing policy for accessible rooms and the failure to design and construct the Mequon Best Western to be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, as required by title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ァ 12183(a)(1). The Department has determined that several features, elements, and spaces of the Motel are not readily accessible to or usable by individuals with disabilities in accordance with the ADA Standards. The Motel has denied that it has violated Title III of the ADA.

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

  1. The Mequon Best Western was designed and constructed for first occupancy after January 26, 1993.
  2. As part of the Department's investigation of the Mequon Best Western, representatives of the Department's Civil Rights Division conducted an on-site inspection of the Motel on January 23, 1997. As a result of its investigation, including its inspection, the Department identified a number of failures to comply with the Standards at the Motel, which are set forth in Exhibit 1.
  3. In May 1997, the Department advised the Mequon Best Western that it had found a pattern or practice of discrimination in the failure to design and construct the Motel according to the Standards. The Motel does not admit liability under ADA and/or Department regulations and denies that it violated the same. Since May 1997, the Mequon Best Western and the United States have engaged in good faith negotiations in an effort to resolve this matter without resort to litigation.

ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY THE MEQUON BEST WESTERN

  1. The Mequon Best Western has agreed to do those items set out in Exhibit 1.
  2. The Mequon Best Western agrees to use its best efforts to make the interior changes that are set out in Exhibit 1 on or before March 31, 1998 and to use its best efforts to make the exterior changes set out in Exhibit 1 on or before May 31, 1998. The Motel will submit documentation (photos, etc.) of all the changes made pursuant to Exhibit 1 to the Department within fifteen (15) days after said due dates.
  3. Unless otherwise specified, all steps set out in Exhibit 1 shall comply with the applicable requirements of the Standards.
  4. The Motel agrees to abide by the following policy regarding the reservation or rental of the three accessible rooms:

    One (1) luxury accessible room and one (1) non-deluxe accessible room will be held until all other rooms in the Motel have been sold.

    Two (2) luxury accessible rooms will be held until all other non-accessible luxury rooms have been sold.

    The three (3) accessible rooms are to be rented at the standard room rate for non-deluxe rooms to those individuals with disabilities that would require the use of the accessible rooms.

  5. The Mequon Best Western will allow Mr. XXXX or his designee to stay for a free night's stay in a luxury suite for him to be used within two (2) years of the date of this Agreement. However, Mr. XXXX and/or his designee must make a prior reservation to assure availability.

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT OF THIS AGREEMENT

  1. The Attorney General is authorized, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188(b)(1)(B), to bring a civil action to enforce title III of the Act in any situation where the Attorney General finds a pattern or practice of discrimination or an issue of general public importance. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit under title III in this matter.
  2. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that this Agreement or any portion of it has been violated, it may institute a civil action seeking specify performance of the provisions of this Agreement in an appropriate federal court. However, before institution of a civil action, the Department must provide the Motel with written notice of its intention to institute a civil action citing all violations it believes the Motel has committed and give the Motel ten (10) days to cure any and all alleged violations. If the Motel fails to cure any alleged violation, the Department may institute a civil action.
  3. A failure by the Department to enforce any term of this Agreement shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce any other portion of this Agreement.
  4. This Agreement is a public document. Copies of this document, Exhibits, and any information contained in them may be made available to any person at any time.
  5. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. This Agreement shall be binding on the owner(s) of the Motel, and their successors in interest. The owner(s) has a duty to notify all such successors in interest of the requirements of this Agreement.
  6. This document 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 the agents of either party that is not contained in this written Agreement, shall be enforceable. This Agreement covers and resolves all issues raised by Mr. XXXX's Complaint and all items that were raised by and covered in the Department's investigation of this matter. This Agreement does not affect the continuing responsibility of the Mequon Best Western to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

For the Mequon Best Western:

________________________      Date:____________________

For the United States:

_________________________      Date: ___________________
JOHN WODATCH, Chief
RENEE WOHLENHAUS, Deputy Chief
EVE HILL, Supervising Attorney
ROBB WOLFSON, Investigator
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
(202) 307-0663

EXHIBIT 1: Steps To Be Taken By The Mequon Best Western in order to comply with the ADA Standards for Accessible Design

Exterior

  1. Parking
    1. One van accessible space will be provided with an access aisle that is at least 8 feet wide. Signage for the van accessible space will consist of the symbol of accessibility and a sign showing "van accessible." Standards ァァ 4.1.2(5)(b), 4.6.
    2. The designated accessible spaces that are not provided on the shortest accessible route to the building entrance will be relocated to be on the shortest accessible route to the entrance. These will have slopes less than 2% grade in all directions. Standards ァァ 4.1.2(5)(a), 4.6.
  2. Accessible Route
    1. An accessible route from the designated accessible parking space access aisles to the accessible pedestrian entrance will be provided located on the shortest accessible route of travel from the parking space to the accessible entrance. Standards ァ 4.6.2.
  3. Passenger Loading Zone
    1. The accessible passenger loading zone will be identified with signage showing the International Symbol of Accessibility. Standards ァァ 4.1.2(7)(b), 4.30.7.

Pool Area

  1. Doors
    1. The hardware on the door from the lobby to the pool area will be changed so that it is operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7)(b), 4.13.1, 4.13.9.
    2. The hardware on the door from the pool area to the Fitness Center will be changed so that it is operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7)(b), 4.13.9.
    3. The hardware on the exit labeled "Fire Exit" from the pool to the stair enclosure and same level emergency exit leading to the exterior will be changed so that it is operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(7)(b), 4.13.9.
  2. Drinking Fountain
    1. The bottom of the apron of the water fountain will be raised to 27 inches. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(10)(a), 4.15.1, 4.15.5.
  3. Pool Toilet Room
    1. The signage will be mounted on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door and the Braille will be mounted directly below the pictogram. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(16)(a), 4.30.1, 4.30.4, 4.30.6.
    2. The floor space of the room will be made so that the door does not swing into the clear floor space required for the toilet or for the shower. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(11), 4.23.1, 4.23.2.
    3. The coat hook on the back of the entrance door will be mounted no higher than 48 inches above the floor for forward approach. Standards ァァ 4.2.5.
    4. The floor space of the room will be made to provide an unobstructed turning space complying with Section 4.2.3. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(11), 4.23.1, 4.23.3, 4.2.3.
    5. The toilet grab bars will be mounted in accordance with Figure 29 of the Standards. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(11), 4.23.1, 4.23.4, 4.16.1, 4.16.4.
    6. The lavatory will be raised in order to provide the 27 inches required knee clearance. The self closing faucets will be replaced or adjusted so they remain open for at least 10 seconds. The hot water pipe will be insulated or otherwise configured to protect against contact. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(11), 4.23.1, 4.23.6, 4.19.1, 4.19.2, 4.19.4, 4.19.5.
    7. The paper towel dispenser will be relocated so that the clear floor space is at least 30 inches wide and the operating portion of the dispenser is mounted no more than 48 inches above the floor for forward approach. Standards ァ 4.2.5.
    8. A seat will be installed in the transfer shower opposite the controls, in accordance with Figure 35 of the Standards. The required clear floor space will be provided in front of the shower in accordance with Figure 35(a). Grab bars will be installed and the shower controls will be located as required by Figure 37. The shower threshold will be lowered to no higher than one-half (l/2) inch above the floor. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(11), 4.23.1, 4.23.8, 4.21.1, 4.21.2, 4.21.3, 4.21.4, 4.21.5, 4.21.7.
  4. Emergency Warning Systems
    1. Visual alarm signal appliances will be added so that all areas of the pool area are within 50 feet of a device. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(14), 4.28.1, 4.28.3(7).
    2. Visual alarm signal appliances will be provided within the pool toilet room and the Fitness Center. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(14), 4.28.1.
  5. The cross slope of the pool deck will be corrected so that it is no greater than 2% in all directions, except as is necessary for proper drainage. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(1), 4.3.1, 4.3.2(3), 4.3.7.

Common Use/Emergency Egress Stairs

  1. The handrails on the stair adjacent to the pool area will extend at least 12 inches horizontally beyond the top riser, and extend at least 12 inches plus the width of one tread beyond the bottom riser. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(4), 4.9.1, 4.9.4(1), 4.9.4(2).
  2. The handrail of the stair adjacent to the vending areas will be extended at least 12 inches plus the width of one tread beyond the bottom riser, except as otherwise provide in #37 below. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(4), 4.9.1, 4.9.4(2).

Lobby

  1. Visual alarm signals will be installed in the lobby, the adjacent "Continental Breakfast" room, and the vending rooms. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(14), 4.28.1.
  2. Either a portion of the registration counter at least 36 inches wide, will be lowered to 36 inches above the floor or an auxiliary counter or equivalent facilitation will be provided. Standards ァ 7.2(2).
  3. The "Continental Breakfast" self-serve counter will be lowered to 34 inches above the floor. Standards ァ 5.6.

Area of Rescue Assistance

  1. The stairway will be modified for use as an areas of rescue assistance, made smoke-proof, and a two-way communication system with visible and audible signals between the area of rescue assistance and the primary entry will be installed. Standards ァァ 4.3.11.1(1), 4.3.11.1(5), 4.3.11.4.
  2. This area will be identified by a sign which shows "AREA OF RESCUE ASSISTANCE" and displays the International Symbol of Accessibility. Directional signage indicating the location of the area of rescue assistance will be provided at all inaccessible exits and instructions will be posted on the use of the area of rescue assistance under emergency conditions. Standards ァ 4.3.11.5.

Guest Room Corridors

  1. Additional visual alarm signals will be located so that no place is more than 50 feet from a visual alarm signal. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(14), 4.28.1, 4.28.3(8).
  2. The directional/information signage will be changed to those with non-glare backgrounds. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(16)(b), 4.30.1, 4.30.5.
  3. The second floor linen/employee room door hardware will be changed so that it is operable without tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 4.1.1(3), 4.1.3.(7)(b), 4.13.1, 4.13.9.

Designated Accessible Guest Rooms

  1. A fourth designated accessible room will be provided. The room will have two beds. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.1.3, 9.1.4(1).
  2. An electrical outlet will be installed within 4 feet of the telephone connection in each accessible room to facilitate the use of a text telephone. Standards ァァ 9.1.3, 9.3.1.
  3. For each of the four rooms designated as accessible and for three other rooms, visual alarm signal appliances and visual notification devices to alert room occupants of incoming telephone calls, door knocks and doorbell rings will be provided. The visual alarm signal appliances will be activated by the fire alarm system. Portable visual alarm signal appliances and visual notification devices may be used if they are located at the hotel front desk and maintained in operable condition, and appropriate staff are instructed in their location, installation, and use. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.2(8), 9.3.1, 9.3.2.

Guest Room 102

  1. The entrance door maneuvering clearance will be made to extend at least 18 inches beyond the latch-side or a power assisted opening device will be provided. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.1, 9.2.2(3), 4.13.6.
  2. The closet shelf and the hanging bar will be relocated so that the shelf is no higher than 54 inches above the floor. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.1, 9.2.2(4), 4.25.3, 4.2.6.
  3. The room lighting controls will be changed so they are operable without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.2(5), 4.27.4.
  4. The following bathroom elements will be changed:
    1. The door will be located so that it does not swing into the clear floor space required for the toilet. Standards ァ 4.23.2.
    2. The maneuvering clearance on the pull-side of the entry door will be at least 48 inches deep. Standards ァァ 4.23.2, 4.13.6.
    3. The toilet rear grab bar will be reinstalled so that it is at least 6 inches from the side wall, and a side grab bar will be provided. Standards ァァ 4.23.4, 4.16.1,4.16.4.
    4. The lavatory hot water supply pipe will be wrapped or otherwise configured to protect against contact and the faucets will be changed so that they can be operated without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 4.23.6, 4.19.4, 4.19.5, 4.27.4.
    5. A folding transfer seat will be provided in the roll-in shower and the grab bars will be reinstalled to comply with Figure 57(a) of the Standards. Standards
    6. The towel shelf will be reinstalled to be no higher than 54 inches, and project no more than 4 inches into the room. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.2(4), 4.25.3, 4.2.6, 4.1.3(2), 4.4.1.
    7. The adjustable mirror will be changed so that it does not project more than 4 inches into the room. If this cannot be done, the mirror will be removed. Standards ァァ 9.0(1), 4.1.3(2), 4.4.1.

Guest Room 104

  1. The entrance door maneuvering clearance will be made to extend at least 18 inches beyond the latch-side or a power assisted opening device will be provided. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.1, 9.2.2(3), 4.13.6.
  2. The closet shelf and the hanging bar will be relocated so that the shelf is no higher than 54 inches above the floor. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.1, 9.2.2(4), 4.25.3, 4.2.6.
  3. The room lighting controls will be changed so that they are operable without tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.2 (5), 4.27.4.
  4. The bed will be placed so that the maneuvering space clear width around the bed is at least 36 inches. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.2(1).
  5. The following bathroom elements will be changed:
    1. The door will be located so that it does not swing into the clear floor space required for the toilet. Standards ァ 4.23.2.
    2. The maneuvering clearance on the pull-side of the entry door will be at least 48 inches deep. Standards ァァ 4.23.2, 4.13.6.
    3. The toilet rear grab bar will be reinstalled so that it is at least 6 inches from the side wall, and a side grab bar will be provided. Standards ァァ 4.23.4, 4.16.1, 4.16.4.
    4. The lavatory hot water supply pipe will be wrapped or otherwise configured to protect against contact and the faucets will be changed so that they can be operated without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 4.23.6, 4.19.4, 4.19.5, 4.27.4.
    5. The adjustable mirror will be changed so that it does not project more than 4 inches into the room. If this cannot be done, the mirror will be removed. Standards ァァ 9.0(1), 4.1.3(2), 4.4.1.
    6. A fixed seat will be installed in the bathtub. Grab bars will be provided according to Figures 33 and 34. Standards ァァ 4.23.8, 4.20.1, 4.20.3.

Guest Room 106

  1. The maneuvering clearance at the entrance door will be made to extend at least 18 inches beyond the latch-side or a power assisted opening device will be provided. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.1, 9.2.2(3), 4.13.6.
  2. The closet shelf and the hanging bar will be relocated so that the shelf is no higher than 54 inches above the floor. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.1, 9.2.2(4), 4.25.3, 4.2.6.
  3. The room lighting controls will be changed so that they are operable without tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.2(5), 4.27.4.
  4. The following bathroom elements will be changed:
    1. The door will be located so that it does not swing into the clear floor space required for the toilet. Standards ァ 4.23.2.
    2. The maneuvering clearance on the pull-side of the entry door will be at least 48 inches deep. Standards ァァ 4.23.2, 4.13.6.
    3. The toilet rear grab bar will be reinstalled so that it is at least 6 inches from the side wall, and a side grab bar will be provided. Standards ァァ 4.23.4, 4.16.1, 4.16.4.
    4. The lavatory hot water supply pipe will be wrapped or otherwise configured to protect against contact and the faucets will be changed so that they can be operated without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 4.23.6, 4.19.4, 4.19.5, 4.27.4.
    5. The towel shelf will be reinstalled to be no higher than 54 inches, and project no more than 4 inches into the room. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.2(4), 4.25.3, 4.2.6, 9.0(1), 4.1.3(2), 4.4.1.
    6. The adjustable mirror will be changed so that it does not project more than 4 inches into the room. If this cannot be done, the mirror will be removed. Standards ァァ 9.0(1), 4.1.3(2), 4.4.1.
    7. A fixed seat will be installed in the bathtub. Grab bars will be provided according to Figures 33 and 34. Standards ァァ 4.23.8, 4.20.1, 4.20.3.

Accessible Guest Rooms

  1. For the accessible guest room that is charged at the deluxe room rate (#1 ), the Jacuzzi will be made more accessible by installing grab bars as shown in Figures 33 and 34, providing a fixed seat, and changing the controls so that they can be operated without tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist. Standards ァァ 4.20.1, 4.20.3, 4.23.8. In the alternative, the Motel does not have to make any changes if it provides the accessible guest rooms at the standard room rate for non-deluxe rooms.

Upper Level Guest Rooms with Lofts

  1. Cane detectable barriers will be positioned underneath the stairs in rooms with lofts to the greatest extent feasible where the clear headroom under the stairs is less than 80 inches high. In the event the Motel determines that it is infeasible to fully position a cane detectable barrier in areas where the clear headroom is less than 80 inches high, it will notify the Department stating the reasons why such action is infeasible and to what extent a cane detectable barrier will be positioned. Standards ァァ 9.1.2, 9.2.1, 9.2.2(2), 4.3.5, 4.4.2
  2. A second handrail will be provided along the loft stairs. Also, all handrails will be installed or altered, as necessary, so that they extend horizontally 12 inches beyond the top riser, and horizontally a tread width plus 12 inches beyond the bottom riser. Standards ァァ 4.1.3(4), 4.9.1, 4.9.4(1), 4.9.4(1), 4.9.4(2). However, the Motel will be relieved of these requirements in those instances where such would interfere with the traffic flow at either the head or the foot of the stairs. In such case, the Motel will extend the railing(s) to the greatest extent feasible. In the event the Motel determines that the extension of the handrails to 12 inches would interfere with the traffic flow, it will notify the Department stating the reasons why such extension would interfere and to what length the handrails would, if possible, be extended to.
Updated August 30, 2016

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