DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBERS 204-11E-57 & 11E-58
This Settlement Agreement is entered into by and between the County of Lassen, California and the United States of America, through the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section ("the Department").
WHEREAS, two complaints were 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 of Lassen. The complainant, Stephen T. Bradley, alleges that he was denied effective communication with the judge from the Consolidated Judicial District because the court failed to provide appropriate auxiliary aids. In addition, Mr. Bradley alleges that he was denied a qualified interpreter during meetings between himself and the Sheriff's staff.
WHEREAS, the County of Lassen denies that Mr. Bradley's allegations evidence a violation of the ADA and alleges that it operates all of its services, programs, and activities in full compliance with the ADA.
WHEREAS, 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 secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12133, to bring 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 of Lassen and the United States, desiring to resolve this matter without resort to costly and time consuming litigation, agree to the following:
- The ADA applies to the County of Lassen 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 of Lassen's performance of its obligations under this Settlement Agreement, the Department of Justice agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation of Department of Justice Complaint Nos. 204-11E-57 and/or 204-11E-58 and from filing a civil suit arising from Department of Justice Complaint Nos. 204-11E-57 and/or 204-11E-58.
- The County of Lassen agrees that the various services, programs, and activities that it provides to the public shall be made accessible to all qualified individuals with disabilities as provided for in the ADA.
- Title II of the ADA requires that a public entity shall take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communications with others.
- Title II of the ADA requires that a public entity shall furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in, and enjoy the benefits of, a service, program, or activity conducted by a public entity.
- Title II of the ADA requires that in determining what type of auxiliary aid and service is necessary, a public entity shall give primary consideration to the request of the individual with a disability.
- Title II of the ADA defines a "qualified interpreter" as an interpreter who is able to interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.
- The Lassen Consolidated Judicial District agrees that within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Settlement Agreement, it shall post the following notice, or its equivalent, at all entrances to the building which it is located:
In accordance with the requirements of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Lassen Consolidated Judicial District operates each service, program, or activity, so that each service, program, or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities. Any individual with a disability requiring information, or needing assistance, should contact ________________, at the Lassen Consolidated Judicial District, for additional information.
- The Lassen Consolidated Judicial District agrees that within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Settlement Agreement, it shall instruct all of its employees as to the requirements of title II of the ADA and the procedures for providing effective communication.
- The County of Lassen agrees to adopt a written policy with procedures for providing auxiliary aids and services, including but not limited to qualified sign language interpreters and real-time captioning, as necessary to ensure effective communication with deaf individuals and individuals with hearing impairments. The policy shall specifically note that a qualified interpreter must be impartial and therefore excludes the use of children, family members, friends, or other interested parties.
- The County of Lassen has developed, and agrees to maintain, a directory of qualified interpreters; qualified sign language interpreting agencies in the county and surrounding communities (e.g., Chico, Redding, and Sacramento); and real time captioning services for those individuals with hearing impairments who are not proficient in sign language.
- 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 as well as any other appropriate relief in any appropriate Federal court.
- Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce this entire Settlement Agreement, or any provision thereof, with regard to any deadline 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 of Lassen fails to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Settlement Agreement without obtaining prior written agreement with the Department of Justice, this Settlement Agreement shall become immediately 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 of Lassen 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 of Lassen's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
For the County of Lassen: For the United States:
John L. Wodatch, Chief
Joan A. Magagna, Deputy Chief
Kirk M. Flagg, Attorney
Disability Rights Section
Civil Right Division
U.S. Department of Justice.