This matter was initiated by a complaint filed, under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") of 1990, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12181-12189, with the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Mississippi against Poplarville Plaza ("Plaza"). The complaint alleges that the owners of the Plaza on Highway 53 in Poplarville, Mississippi failed to remove architectural barriers, even though their removal was readily achievable and failed to design and construct a portion of the Plaza in accordance with the ADA Accessibility Guidelines. 28 C.F.R. ï½§ï½§ 36.304 and 36.401; 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv) and 12183(a).
The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and Southern Development of Mississippi, Inc., a Mississippi corporation, the owner of Poplarville Plaza, Poplarville, Mississippi. All references below are to the provisions of the ADA Standards for Accessible Design ("Standards"), 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A.
Poplarville Plaza is a shopping center consisting of two multi-tenant buildings. Housed in these two buildings are a variety of businesses, including restaurants, health care providers, grocery stores, movie rentals, and discount stores. Poplarville Plaza is a public accommodation because it is a facility, operated by a private entity, whose operations affect commerce and fall within at least one of 12 specified categories defined by 28 C.F.R. Part 36, ï½§ 36.104. Poplarville Plaza also contains an additional building owned by Southern Financial Services, Inc., a subsidiary of The Lamar Bank. Southern Financial Services, Inc. is not covered by this Settlement Agreement.
Within 90 days of the effective date of this agreement, Southern Development of Mississippi, Inc., a Mississippi corporation, as the owner of Poplarville Plaza, agrees to modify the architectural barriers to ensure that the facility is in compliance with the ADA as follows:
- Two parking spaces, constructed in the Universal Design, will be located on the shortest accessible route to the entrances of the Pizza Hut building in accordance with Standards Appendix ï½§ A4.6, Fig. A5(b). These spaces will be marked with appropriate signage to comply with the Standards ï½§ 4.6.4.
- In addition to the two accessible parking spaces at the Pizza Hut building, there will be nine accessible spaces, constructed in the Universal Design, located at the Food Tiger building. These accessible parking spaces will be in compliance with the Standards Appendix ï½§ A4.6, Fig. A5(b).
- The two existing curb ramps at the Pizza Hut building will be removed and new curb ramps will be constructed in accordance with Standards ï½§ï½§ 4.7 and 4.8, including, but not limited to ï½§ï½§ 4.8.6, 4.8.2 and 4.7.5. The ramps will be constructed so that they do not protrude into the access aisles of the parking spaces more than eighteen inches past the wheelstops. Standards ï½§ 4.6.3.
- New curb ramps will also be installed at the Food Tiger building. These ramps will be constructed in compliance with Standards 4.7 and 4.8, including but not limited to ï½§ï½§ 4.8.6, 4.8.2, and 4.7.5.
- The curb ramps will have a lip (level change) of no more than the one-fourth inch allowed by Standards ï½§ 4.7.2.
Covered Shopping Center Sidewalks
- The ramp portion of the covered sidewalk, between the Pizza Hut and Subway, will be modified to comply with the 8.3% maximum slope as set by Standards ï½§ 4.8.2, and Figure 16. Handrails will be installed for this ramp in compliance with Standards ï½§ 4.8.5.
- Handrails will be added to serve the ramp portion of the covered sidewalk between the Subway and Poplarville Eye Clinic in compliance with the Standards ï½§ 4.8.5.
Exterior Accessible Routes
- Two new ramps will be constructed at each end of a marked cross walk to allow for an accessible route linking the larger Food Tiger Building to the smaller Pizza Hut Building in compliance with ï½§ï½§ 4.1.2(2), 4.7, and 4.8, including, but not limited to ï½§ï½§ 4.8.2, 4.8.6, and 4.3.7. Handrails will be installed on the ramps in compliance with the requirements set by Standards ï½§ 4.8.5.
- The accessible routes from the accessible parking spaces to the sidewalk serving the building entrances will include marked pedestrian crosswalks.
- 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.
- The ADA authorizes the Department of Justice to investigate alleged violations of Title III. 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12188(b)(1). The Department of Justice is also authorized to commence a civil action in United States District Court in any case that involves a pattern or practice of discrimination or that raises issues of general public importance, and to seek injunctive relief, monetary damages, and civil penalties. 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12188(a)(2) and 12188(b). In consideration of the terms of this Agreement as set forth herein, the Department of Justice agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing civil suit in this matter.
- 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 the federal district court for the Southern District of Mississippi, or any other appropriate federal district court. The Attorney General is authorized to seek civil penalties and monetary damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12188(b)(2)(C).
- In the event that Southern Development of Mississippi, Inc. fails to comply in a timely fashion with any requirement of this agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department as to a temporary modification of the relevant terms of the agreement, it shall be liable to the Department of Justice for a civil penalty of no less than $5,000 for each required action not taken, in addition to any appropriate compensatory damages caused by the failure to comply, and such failure shall be considered a subsequent violation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12188(b)(2)(C)(ii).
- 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, will not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
- This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth herein and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the continuing responsibility of the owners and operators of Poplarville Plaza to comply with all aspects of Title III of the ADA.
- This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document, or any information contained in it, may be made available to any person. The owners and operators of Poplarville Plaza shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person upon request.
- Each signer of this document for Poplarville Plaza represents that he or she is authorized to bind Poplarville Plaza to this Agreement.
- The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
For Poplarville Plaza:
OF MISSISSIPPI, INC.
ROBERT N. GRAHAM,
For the United States:
United States Attorney
Assistant United States Attorney
Southern District of Mississippi