Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The City Of Roswell, New Mexico

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-49-10

This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12131-12134 (the ADA), with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, (Department) against the City of Roswell, New Mexico (City). The complainant alleges that the City has violated title II of the ADA and the Department of Justice's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35, by failing to provide a sign language interpreter in the Roswell Municipal Court for a woman who is deaf who was scheduled to attend three hearings scheduled in November of 1992. Pursuant to the provision of the ADA entitled "Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution," 42 U.S.C. 12212, the parties have entered into this Agreement.
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 the compliance of the City with title II of the ADA and the Department's implementing title II regulation, issue findings, and, where appropriate, negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. 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. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, 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 Roswell. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties hereby agree as follows:

Background

The ADA applies to the City because it is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title II. 28 C.F.R. ァ 35.104.
The City is responsible for the operation of the Roswell Municipal Court, located in the city of Roswell, New Mexico.
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.
Under the ADA, the services, programs, and activities provided in the Roswell Municipal Court, when viewed in their entirety, must be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities.

Remedial Action

The City will, within 30 days of the effective date of this agreement, develop a written policy, equivalent to the policy attached hereto, to provide that, in those proceedings in the Roswell Municipal Court where an interpreter is required to ensure effective communication with an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing, the City will, upon reasonable notice, secure the services of a qualified interpreter. Copies of the policy will be provided to members of the public upon request.
In order to ensure effective communication with any participant, including any party, witness, juror, or spectator who is deaf or hard of hearing, in the services, programs, or activities of the Roswell Municipal Court, the City agrees:
  1. to provide, at the City's expense, appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified interpreters, when necessary to ensure effective communication with the individual with a disability;
  2. to give primary consideration to the request of the individual with a disability when determining what type of auxiliary aid or service is appropriate; and
  3. to notify individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing about the provision of auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication. The City will disseminate this information through pamphlets, posters, or other appropriate means.

Implementation and Enforcement of the Agreement

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 upon request. The City shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person upon request.
The Department of Justice may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department of Justice believes that this Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action in federal district court following written notice to the City of the possible violation and a period of ten (10) days in which the City has the opportunity to cure the alleged violation.
Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with respect to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department of Justice's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
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, will be enforceable under its provisions.
This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth herein and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the City's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of title II of the ADA.
The signer of this document for the City represents that he or she is authorized to bind the City to this Agreement.

For the City of Roswell:

__________________________________      Date:___________

For the United States:

Isabelle Katz Pinzler
Assistant Attorney General
for Civil Rights

By:_______________________________      Date:___________
   John L. Wodatch
   Allison Nichol
   Naomi Milton
   Disability Rights Section
   Civil Rights Division
   U.S. Department of Justice
   P.O. Box 66738
   Washington, D.C. 20035-6738

Attachment

POLICY ON INTERPRETING SERVICES IN JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS INVOLVING INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE DEAF OR HARD OR HEARING

It is the policy of the City of Roswell that in those proceedings in the Roswell Municipal Court where an interpreter is required to ensure effective communication with any party, witness, juror, or spectator who is deaf or hard or hearing, the City will, upon reasonable notice, secure the services of a qualified interpreter. The term "qualified interpreter" means an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.
Before determining the type of interpreting services to be secured, the City or its designated representative will confer with an individual with a disability regarding his or her mode of communication (e.g., American Sign Language, Signed English, or oral interpreting). The City or its designee will then determine the type of the services and the date, time, and place where such services will be required. The City will then secure an interpreter who is capable of providing these services and negotiate payment terms from appropriate budgeted funds.
Upon the date, place, and time determined, and prior to continuing with any proceeding, the City or designee will inquire of the individual, through the interpreter, whether the individual is confident that the interpreter's skills will ensure an adequate and accurate interpretation of the proceedings. If this question is answered in the negative, the proceedings will be suspended until a qualified interpreter is obtained.
The City will cause these procedures to be distributed to all judges and staff of the Roswell Municipal Court. Notice of the City's commitment to comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act is to be provided to all parties, witnesses, jurors, and spectators in judicial proceedings. This notice is to be provided as soon as practicable and will name a centralized office for city government that will be responsible for this policy and that may be contacted via traditional telephone and TTY.
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Updated August 6, 2015

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