DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-9-18
This Settlement Agreement is entered into by the County of Chicot, Arkansas (the "County"), and the United States of America, through the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section (the "Department of Justice").
A complaint was filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12131-12134, with the Department of Justice against the County, which alleges that certain services, programs, and activities of the Chicot County Courthouse (the "Courthouse") are not accessible to persons with mobility impairments. In order to reach the programs offered on the second floor of the Courthouse, a person with a mobility impairment has to ascend a flight of stairs. In addition, the basement entrance of the Courthouse is designated as the accessible entrance for persons with mobility impairments; however, it is not accessible because of three steps that must be ascended in order to enter to participate in the services and programs offered on the basement level.
The County alleges that it has constructed ramps that lead from the accessible parking spaces to the main and basement entrances of the Courthouse. However, access to the basement still involves steps and the County is unable to make any other structural changes to the Courthouse. The County has, therefore, developed alternative methods to ensure that the services, programs, and activities provided at the Courthouse, when viewed in their entirety, are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.
The Department of Justice is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate fully the allegations of the complaint in this matter, to determine compliance with title II of the ADA and the Department of Justice's implementing regulation, to issue findings, and, where appropriate, to negotiate and to secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department of Justice fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F;
Therefore, the County and the United States, desiring to resolve this matter without resort to litigation, agree as follows:
- The ADA applies to the County because it is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title II of the ADA. 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 35.104.
- In consideration for the County's performance of its obligations under this Settlement Agreement, the Department of Justice agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation of Complaint No. 204-9-18 and to refrain from filing a civil suit arising from its investigation of Complaint No. 204-9-18.
- The County agrees that the various services, programs, and activities provided in the Courthouse to the public shall be made accessible to all qualified individuals with disabilities.
- The County agrees that the following notice, or a similar such notice, shall be posted at all entrances to the Courthouse:
In accordance with the requirements of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Chicot County Courthouse operates each service, program, or activity, so that each service, program, or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Any individual with a disability requiring information, or needing assistance, should contact the Chicot County Judge's Office, at (870) 265-8015 for additional information.
- For Courthouse services, programs, and activities not available in accessible spaces, the County agrees that Courthouse personnel shall meet qualified individuals with disabilities at accessible locations, if necessary, to assist in providing access to the Courthouse's services, programs, and activities. The County agrees that Courthouse personnel will meet with individuals with disabilities on the accessible main floor of the courthouse, in their automobiles, or in front of the Courthouse to provide individuals with disabilities the services and programs offered to members of the public.
- For public meetings and court sessions held at the Courthouse, upon notice that a person with a disability plans to attend, the County will arrange to hold the meeting or session in an accessible space on the main floor of the Courthouse or in another accessible building.
- If the Department of Justice determines that this Settlement Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action seeking specific performance of the provisions of this Settlement Agreement and other appropriate relief in any appropriate Federal court.
- Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce the entire Settlement Agreement, or any provision thereof, shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department of Justice's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Settlement Agreement.
- In the event that the County fails to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Settlement Agreement, without prior written agreement from the Department of Justice, this Settlement Agreement shall become enforceable in an appropriate Federal court.
- This Settlement Agreement is a public document. A copy of this Settlement Agreement or any information contained in it may be made available to any person by the County or the Department of Justice on request.
- The effective date of this Settlement Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
- This Settlement 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 Settlement Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Settlement Agreement does not affect the County's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
County of Chicot:
County Judge Fred Zieman
For the United States:
John L. Wodatch, Chief
Irene Bowen, Deputy Chief
Eve Hill, Attorney
Brenda Sheppard, Investigator
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice.