Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The City Of Cambridge, Ohio

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-58-63


BACKGROUND

A. SCOPE OF THE INVESTIGATION

        This matter was initiated by a complaint 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") against the City of Cambridge, Ohio ("City"). The complaint was received by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, under the authority of 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F.

        The complaint alleges that structural barriers and other deficiencies make the programs, services and activities offered in the City Building, Municipal Court Building, and the City's Law Offices inaccessible to persons with mobility impairments and to persons with hearing and visual impairments.

        The Department limited its program access review to those of the City's programs, services, and activities that operate in the City Building and Municipal Court Building. Construction or alterations did not commence after January 26, 1992, at either of these facilities. The Department's review included the City's Law Offices which had been moved, subsequent to the filing of the complaint, from a third building to the Municipal Court Building.

B. JURISDICTION

  1. The ADA applies to the City because it is a "public entity" as defined by title II. 42 U.S.C. ァ 12131(1).
  2. The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate the complaint in this matter to determine the compliance of the City 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.

        The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the City of Cambridge, Ohio. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of further investigation and possible litigation, the parties hereby agree as follows:

REMEDIAL ACTION

  1. In consideration of, and consistent with, the terms of this Agreement as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit in this matter, except as provided in paragraphs 17 and 19.
  2. The Parties agree that the technical requirements and, where appropriate, the scoping requirements of the Standards are used as a guide for determining whether a program or activity held in an existing facility is "readily accessible to and usable by" persons with disabilities, and for determining what changes are necessary to make this program or activity accessible if it continues to be provided in the existing facility in question. See 28 C.F.R. ァァ 35.150(b)(1), 35.151. The Standards appear at 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A.

A. POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

  1. Within 60 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City will develop and adopt a written procedure for providing a qualified sign language interpreter at City Council meetings upon request of any individual with a hearing impairment, at no expense to any individual or group of individuals with disabilities. The availability of this service will be included in all announcements of such meetings.
  2. In order to ensure that court proceedings held in the Municipal Court Building are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with mobility impairments, the City will, within 120 days of the effective date of this Agreement, adopt and implement the attached Policy (Attachment A) entitled, "Policy on Accessibility of Proceedings Held within the Municipal Court Building."
  3. Copies of the attached Policy will be posted in conspicuous locations in the Municipal Court Building within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement and distributed to all Court employees. The City will refresh posted copies for the life of the Agreement, and provide copies to any person upon request.
  4. The City stated that its alternate accessible location for jury trials is the Guernsey County Courthouse. The Department investigated that Courthouse pursuant to a second complaint filed by the complainant here and has discovered that it is not fully accessible (e.g., there is no designated van-accessible parking space, there are no wheelchair locations in the courtroom, there is a change in level of several inches from the courtroom floor to the jury station).
  5. Within 60 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City will locate an alternate accessible location in which to conduct jury trial that complies with the Standards for parking, exterior accessible route, exterior entrance, interior accessible route and entrance to the courtroom, courtroom space and elements, and toilet rooms. Within 90 days of the effective date of the Agreement, it will report to the Department the location of that site together with measurements and photographs documenting its compliance with the Standards.

  6. The City will report to the Department within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement the actions it has taken to comply with these provisions.

B. PHYSICAL CHANGES

        In order to ensure that each of the City's programs, services, and activities operating at a facility that is the subject of this Agreement, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by persons with mobility impairments, the City will take the following actions.

  1. The City shall complete the following alterations to the City Building within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement:
    1. The designated accessible parking space is not van-accessible. Alter the space to provide a "van-accessible" parking space served by an access aisle at least 96 inches wide and identified by an additional "van-accessible" sign mounted below the symbol of accessibility in a location that cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space. ァァ 4.1.2(5)(b), 4.6.4.
    2. There are hinged doors in a series leading from the street through the rear, lower level entrance. The distance of 29 inches from the leading edge of the open interior door to the face of the exterior door makes this entrance and, hence, the programs and services offered on the lower level inaccessible to wheelchair users. ァ 4.13.7. Install directional signage at the rear, lower level entrance indicating the location of the accessible route to the accessible street level entrance, and install signage in a prominent location inside the accessible street level entrance indicating that all programs and services will be provided on the street level for anyone who cannot access the lower level because of a disability. ァァ 4.1.2(7)(c), 4.30.2, 4.30.3, 4.30.5, 4.30.7.
    3. The City Council Chambers has no assistive listening system available. Install a permanent assistive listening system or an adequate number of electrical outlets or other supplementary wiring in the room necessary to support a portable assistive listening system, with a minimum number of receivers provided equal to 4% of the total number of seats but no less than two receivers, with signage that includes the international symbol of accessibility for hearing loss. ァァ 4.1.3(19)(b), 4.33, 4.30.
    4. The top of the service counters in the Treasurer and Income Tax Office and City Utilities Bills Office are 42 inches above the floor. Provide counters that are at least 36 inches wide and no more than 36 inches high, or provide auxiliary counters with a maximum height of 36 inches in compliance with the Standards, ァ 7.2(2); or provide access to services transacted at these counters through alternate means (e.g., by offering those services at an accessible location for individuals who use wheelchairs).
  2. The City shall complete the following alterations to the City Building within 270 days of the effective date of this Agreement:
    1. Neither the men's nor the women's street level toilet rooms are accessible. Provide an accessible unisex toilet room such that all of the room's elements, including clear floor space, entry door, water closet, size and arrangement, grab bars, and controls and dispensers, comply with the Standards. Provide directional signage at the inaccessible toilet rooms indicating the location of the new accessible unisex toilet room. Identify the accessible unisex toilet room with the International Symbol of Accessibility. ァァ 4.1.2(7)(d), 4.1.6(3)(e)(iii), 4.13, 4.22, 4.16, 4.19, 4.26, 4.27, 4.30.
  3. The City shall complete the following alterations to the City Building within one year of the effective date of this Agreement:
    1. The ramp to the street level entrance appears to exceed the maximum slope of 1:12. The ends of the handrails are not rounded or returned smoothly to the post, the top of their gripping surface is 32 inches above the ramp surface, they provide inadequate edge protection, and the longer handrail lacks a 12-inch extension parallel to the ground.
    2. Survey the ramp and report its slope to the Department within 30 days. Alter the ramp, as necessary, within one year of the Department's written direction so that the slope, handrails, and edge protection comply with the Standards. ァァ 4.8, 4.26.

  4. The City shall complete the following alterations to the City Building within 30 days of the election to the City Council of a person who uses a wheelchair:
    1. There is a change in level of several inches from the floor to the Council's dais. Lower the Council's dais to floor level or install a ramp that complies with the Standards. ァァ 4.5.2, 4.8.
  5. Within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the City will complete the following alterations to the Municipal Court Building:
    1. The designated accessible parking space is not van-accessible. Alter the space to provide a "van-accessible" parking space served by an access aisle at least 96 inches wide and identified by an additional "van-accessible" sign mounted below the symbol of accessibility in a location that cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space. ァァ 4.1.2(5)(b), 4.6.4.
    2. The entrance to the courtroom that is closest to public parking is located at the top of an interior step. The accessible entrance to the courtroom can only be reached via a route through the Court's office area. Install directional signage indicating the location of the accessible route and accessible entrance to the courtroom. ァァ 4.1.2(7)(c), 4.30.1, 4.30.2, 4.30.3, 4.30.5, 4.30.7.
    3. There is a セ inch change in elevation at the threshold to the courtroom entrance door. Alter this threshold so that the change is no greater than ス inch and beveled with a slope no greater than 1:2, or by installing a ramp with a slope no greater than 1:12 that has a level landing of at least 60 inches in length in front of the doorway. ァァ 4.5.2, 4.8, 4.13.8.
    4. There is a 1シ inch change in elevation at the threshold of the entrance door to the Law Director's Office. Alter this threshold so that the change is no greater than ス inch and beveled with a slope no greater than 1:2, or by installing a ramp with a slope no greater than 1:12 that has a level landing of at least 60 inches in length in front of the doorway. ァァ 4.5.2, 4.8, 4.13.8.

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

  1. Except as otherwise specified in this Agreement, at 90 and 180 days after the effective date of this Agreement, and thereafter at yearly anniversaries of the effective date, the City will submit written reports to the Department summarizing the actions the City has taken pursuant to this Agreement. Reports will include photographs, architectural plans, notices published in the newspapers, copies of adopted policies, and proof of efforts to secure funding/assistance for structural renovations.
  2. If at any time the City 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. These actions must receive the prior written approval of the Department, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.
  3. 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 will so notify the City in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the Department is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the City, it may institute a civil action in federal district court directly to enforce title II or to enforce the terms of this Agreement.
  4. 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.
  5. In the event that the City fails to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department for a temporary modification of the relevant terms of this Agreement, the Department may file suit in an appropriate federal court to enforce the terms of the Agreement or may declare the Agreement null and void and file suit to enforce title II of the ADA.
  6. 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 City or the Department on request.
  7. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  8. 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 City's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
  9. This Agreement will remain in effect for two years from the effective date of this Agreement, or until the parties agree that full compliance with this Agreement by the City has been achieved.
  10. The person signing for the City of Cambridge represents that he is authorized to bind the City to this Agreement.

For the City:


By:_________________________________      Date___________
      SAM SALUPO, Mayor
      City of Cambridge
      1131 Steubenville Avenue
      Cambridge, Ohio 43725

For the United States:

BILL LANN LEE,
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

By:_________________________________  &nbsp   Date___________
      JOHN WODATCH, Chief
      L. IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief
      NAOMI MILTON, Supervisory Attorney
      Disability Rights Section
      Civil Rights Division
      U.S. Department of Justice
      P.O. Box 66118
      Washington, DC 20035-6738







ATTACHMENT A THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
POLICY ON ACCESSIBILITY OF PROCEEDINGS HELD WITHIN
THE CAMBRIDGE MUNICIPAL COURT BUILDING

The City of Cambridge, Ohio, has adopted the following procedures so that services, programs, or activities that would otherwise be provided in an inaccessible location in the Municipal Court Building are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with mobility disabilities. ("Accessible locations" and "inaccessible locations" include locations with accessible toilet rooms and locations without accessible toilet rooms, respectively.)

PROCEEDINGS 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 Municipal Court Building, the proceeding will be relocated to an accessible location after a request to relocate the court proceeding is made to the Court Clerk at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled commencement of the proceeding. If a party to a proceeding is represented by counsel and either has a need to request relocation of the proceeding, or requires the presence of a person at the proceeding who requests relocation, then the proceeding shall be relocated upon such request.

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 Municipal Court Building, 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 Court Clerk will make reasonable efforts to relocate and, if unsuccessful, the proceeding will be postponed until such proceeding can be relocated to an accessible location.

DUTIES OF THE CIRCUIT COURT CLERK

Once a request to relocate a proceeding to an accessible location is received, the Court Clerk will:

  1. contact the judge who will preside over the proceeding to inform him or her of the request to relocate the proceeding to an accessible courtroom;
  2. contact the judge who was scheduled to preside over proceedings scheduled at the same time in the accessible courtroom so that he or she is informed of the relocation of both proceedings;
  3. contact parties, jurors, and attorneys who must be present at the proceedings to inform them of the new location; and,
  4. post written notice of the new location of the proceedings in conspicuous locations of the Courthouse where court dockets or schedules are routinely posted, especially outside the door of each courtroom.
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Updated August 6, 2015

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