Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The River's Edge Hotel

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 202-26S-27

This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12181-12189 (the ADA), with the United States Department of Justice against the Howard Johnson Hotel, commonly called the River's Edge Hotel (Hotel), in Clarksville, Indiana. The complainants alleged that the Hotel has violated title III of the ADA and the Department of Justice's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, by failing and refusing to allow their service dog to stay with them unless they paid a security deposit.

The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and the River's Edge Hotel. The parties agree that this Agreement is not an admission of violation and should not be construed as an admission by the Hotel of any violation.

In the interests of securing compliance by voluntary means, the parties hereby agree as follows:

Background

  1. The Hotel, located in Clarksville, Indiana, is a place of lodging, and its operations affect commerce. It is a place of public accommodation covered by title III of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. ァ 12181 (7)(A).
  2. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations.
  3. Under the ADA, a public accommodation must make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when the modifications are necessary to afford goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations. 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.302(a).
  4. Under the ADA, a public accommodation may not impose a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the costs of measures that are required to provide that individual or group with the nondiscriminatory treatment required by the ADA. 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.301(c).

Remedial Action

  1. Within 30 days of the effective date of this agreement, the Hotel will develop a written policy to provide that guests with service animals will not be charged a security deposit or any other special fee because of their service animal.
  2. The written policy shall contain the following provisions:
    1. service animals may stay in the rooms of guests with disabilities without the guests being charged a security deposit or any other special fee levied because of the presence of the service animal;
    2. the definition of a service animal includes guide dogs, signal dogs, and any other animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability; and
    3. the policy shall provide information regarding who to contact in case the policy is not followed.
  3. The policy shall be distributed to all Hotel employees, be posted in a conspicuous place at the Hotel desk, and be made available to the public upon request.

Implementation and Enforcement of the Agreement

  1. 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 Hotel or the Department upon request. The Hotel shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person upon request.
  2. 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 to enforce the terms of the Agreement following written notice to the Hotel of the possible violation and a period of ten (10) days in which the Hotel has the opportunity to cure the alleged violation.
  3. 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.
  4. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 Hotel's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of title III of the ADA.
  7. The signer of this document for the Hotel represents that he or she is authorized to bind the County to this Agreement.

    For the River's Edge Hotel:

    ______________________________      Date:____________

    For the United States:

    Isabelle Katz Pinzler
    Acting 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
    (202) 514-9807

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Updated August 6, 2015

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