Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The City Of Gonzales, Louisiana

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-32M-28

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 Gonzales. 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 complainant alleges that the City of Gonzales has not completed either a self-evaluation or a transition plan, in violation of section 35.105 of the Department's title II regulation. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.105.

The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate fully the allegations of the complainant in this matter to determine the compliance of the City of Gonzales 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 the City of Gonzales. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties hereby agree as follows:

  1. The City of Gonzales is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title II of the ADA. 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.104.
  2. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability, in the services, programs, or activities of a public entity such as the City of Gonzales.
  3. Under the ADA, the services, programs, or activities provided by the City of Gonzales, when viewed in their entirety, must be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.
  4. The subject of this Agreement is the completion of the self-evaluation and transition plan for the City of Gonzales.
  5. Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this agreement, the City of Gonzales will complete the self-evaluation and the transition plan and submit copies to the Department.
  6. The City of Gonzales will submit a report to the Department on its implementation of the matters set forth in paragraph 5 within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement.
  7. The self-evaluation will, at a minimum, address the issues set out below. The City of Gonzales may resolve all the issues described below through structural changes, which will be set out in a transition plan, or by developing a plan to otherwise provide its services, programs, and activities in such a way as to make them accessible to persons with disabilities. The ADA Standards for Accessible Design, 28 C.F.R. pt. 36, app. A ("Standards") are cited below as guidance for assessing whether building features present barriers to persons with disabilities and for what changes will be necessary if alterations are made.

    Tourist Center and Museum

    • Path from indoor party room and kitchen area to outdoor covered picnic area

      Although ァ4.3.8 of the Standards requires that changes in level greater than ス inch require a ramp in compliance with ァ4.8, there is a step, but no ramp, from the indoor party room and kitchen area to the outdoor, covered picnic area.

    • Caboose
    • Although the Department's title II regulations ("Regulation"), 28 C.F.R. pt. 35 ァ35.163(a) require that an entity must provide information regarding the accessible facilities available to the public, there is no sign on the steps to the caboose to direct people to the accessible entrance inside the museum.

    City Park and Ballfields

    • Restrooms - Men's and Women's

      Although the Standards require that doors have a minimum clear opening of 32 inches, with the door open 90 degrees, measured between the face of the door and the opposite stop, ァ4.13.5, the entry doors have a clear width of 31 inches.

      Although the Standards require that the dimensions of a standard toilet stall be 59 inches deep and 60 inches wide, ァ4.17.3, figure 30(a), the toilet stalls are 48 inches deep.

      Although the Standards require that a toilet stall have grab bars mounted between 33 and 36 inches above the floor behind and adjacent to the water closet in the toilet stall, as shown in figure 30(a) of the Standards, ァ4.17.6, the grab bar behind the toilet is 45 inches high and the side bar is slanted.

    Civic Center

    • Entrance to restroom area

      Although the Standards require that doors have a minimum clear opening of 32 inches, with the door open 90 degrees, measured between the face of the door and the opposite stop, ァ4.13.5, the clear opening is 29 inches wide.

    • Restrooms - men's and women's

      Although the Standards require that doors have a minimum clear opening of 32 inches, with the door open 90 degrees, measured between the face of the door and the opposite stop, ァ4.13.5, the clear opening is 29 ス inches wide.

      Although the Standards require that the dimensions of a standard toilet stall be 59 inches deep and 60 inches wide, ァ4.17.3, figure 30(a), the toilet stalls are 43 inches deep and 66 ス inches wide.

      Although the Standards require that a toilet stall have grab bars mounted between 33 and 36 inches off the floor behind and adjacent to the water closet in the toilet stall, as shown in figure 30(a) of the Standards, ァ4.17.6, no grab bars have been installed.

    Swimming Pools

    • Two existing swimming pools

      The elements serving these swimming pools; including the access routes, entrances, toilet rooms, dressing rooms, and showers; do not comply with the Standards.

      Use of these swimming pools will be discontinued and they will be filled.

    • New swimming pool

      One accessible swimming pool; including parking, access routes, entrances, toilet rooms, dressing rooms, and showers that comply with the Standards will be constructed.

      Construction plans for the new swimming pool complex will be submitted to the Department for review at least 30 days prior to beginning construction.

  8. If at any time the City of Gonzales desires to modify any portion of this Agreement because of changed conditions making performance impossible or impractical or for any other reason, it shall 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 shall not take effect.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. In the event that the City of Gonzales 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 in an appropriate Federal court.
  12. 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 of Gonzales or the Department on request.
  13. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  14. 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 of Gonzales' continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

    For the City of Gonzales:

    ____________________________________      Date:___________

    For the United States:

    BILL LANN LEE
    Acting Assistant Attorney General
    for Civil Rights

    ____________________________________      Date:___________
       JOHN WODATCH, Chief
       ALLISON NICHOL, Deputy Chief
       SUSAN B. REILLY, ATTORNEY
       Disability Rights Section
       Civil Rights Division
       U.S. Department of Justice
       P.O. Box 66118
       Washington, D.C. 20035-6118

    >
Updated August 6, 2015

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