Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And Sledge Inc., D/b/a The 9:30 Club




  1. This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12181-12189, with the United States Department of Justice (Department) against Sledge Inc., d/b/a The 9:30 Club (Club). The complainant, who has a hearing impairment, alleged that the Club refused to honor his request for a sign language interpreter for a live concert performed there.
  2. The Club is a facility operated by a private entity as a bar, restaurant, and place of entertainment, whose operations affect commerce and is therefore a public accommodation covered by title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ァ 12181(7)(A).
  3. The Department of Justice is authorized to investigate complaints under title III of the ADA and to bring suit in particular cases. 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188.
  4. The parties have agreed to settle these matters without any admission of liability as to the lawfulness of the Club's actions.


  1. The Club agrees, within 30 days from the effective date of this Agreement, to take the following actions:
    1. The Club will ensure that customers with hearing impairments who use sign language to communicate are not excluded from or denied the benefits of the services or entertainment offered in the Club because of the absence of auxiliary aids and services, unless the Club can demonstrate providing such auxiliary aids and services would fundamentally alter the nature of the performance or would result in an undue burden.
    2. The Club will meet the obligations set out in part (a) above, by complying with the attached written Policy Statement on provision of sign language interpretation of performances to ensure that customers with hearing impairments who use sign language to communicate are afforded the full and equal enjoyment of those performances. The Club agrees that compliance with the attached Policy Statement does not presently fundamentally alter the nature of its performances or result in an undue burden.
    3. The Club will post a copy of the Policy Statement at the Club's box office and provide a copy to any person upon request. A copy of the Policy Statement will be forwarded to the Department upon its completion.
    4. The Club will provide training for employees who deal with customers or prospective customers, which includes: (1) instruction to comply with the provisions of this Agreement; and (2) instruction on handling telephone calls from customers who are deaf or hard of hearing, and are using a TDD or relay services.
    5. The Club will provide song set lists and lyrics, upon request, for hearing impaired customers who have purchased tickets to performances held at the Club.
    6. The Club will provide a qualified sign language interpreter, upon request, for hearing impaired customers who have purchased tickets to performances held at the Club. A qualified sign language interpreter is defined as an interpreter who is able to interpret competently, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any specialized terminology necessary for effective communication in a given setting to the individual who is deaf or hard of hearing.
    7. The Club will ensure that the sign language interpreter signing at a performance receives song set lists and lyrics at least five days before the performance in order to have sufficient time to practice, except in those instances where circumstances beyond the Club's control prevent this from happening. In instances where a request for interpreter services is received less than 10 days before a performance, the Club will make every effort to obtain an interpreter and supply the interpreter with the song set lists and lyrics within at least 24 hours of the request. At the performance the Club will place and light the interpreter so that the hearing impaired customer and at least one paying companion can see the interpreter and performers without obstacles or interference during the performance.
  2. The Club shall submit to the Department of Justice, within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement a letter certifying that it has taken the steps required above to comply with this Agreement. The letter shall provide: (1) a written statement certifying the non-discrimination policy in paragraph 5 (b) is the official policy of the Club; and (2) that all other steps identified in paragraph 5 have been met. The Club shall also submit, on a monthly basis for one year from the date this Agreement is executed, a list of all performances for which hearing impaired customers requested song set lists and lyrics and/or a sign language interpreter and include the performance dates, the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the hearing impaired customer(s) and the sign language interpreter(s) for each performance. The monthly list should be submitted to: Charles Harvey, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section, P.O. Box 66738, Washington, D.C. 20035-6738.
  3. In consideration of the promises made in paragraphs 5 and 6, the Department agrees to close the investigation of complaint DJ# 202-35-116 and to refrain from bringing a civil action against the Club.


  1. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that this Agreement or any provision thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action in Federal district court, following written notice to the Club of the possible violation and a period of 10 days during which the Club has the opportunity to cure the first alleged violation. For any subsequent alleged violations of this Agreement, the Department may institute a civil action against the Club without any waiting period for the Club to cure the alleged violation. The Attorney General is authorized to seek civil penalties pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188(b)(2)(C).
  2. If future changes are made to sections of the ADA that void the obligations of the Club under this Agreement, those obligations will no longer be binding, but the Club will be obligated to adhere to the ADA changes relevant to its operation.
  3. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or some of its provisions will not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other provisions of this Agreement.


  1. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this Agreement or any information contained herein may be made available to any person by the Department or the Club upon request.
  2. This Agreement shall become effective as of the date of the last signature below.
  3. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised here, 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.
  4. This Agreement is limited to the facts as set forth above, and it does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal, State or local law. This Agreement does not affect the Club's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
  5. The person signing this document for Club represents that he is authorized to bind Club to this Agreement.

For the United States:

Bill Lann Lee
Acting Assistant Attorney General

By:_____________________________      Date: ___________
   John L. Wodatch, Chief
   Renee M. Wohlenhaus, Deputy Chief
   Susan B. Reilly, Supervisory Attorney
   Charles Harvey, Investigator
   Disability Rights Section
   Civil Rights Division
   U.S. Department of Justice
   P.O. Box 66738
   Washington, D.C. 20035-6738

Sledge, Inc., d/b/a The 9:30 Club

By:_____________________________      Date: ___________
   Sledge, Inc., d/b/a The 9:30 Club
   Washington, D.C. 20001

Updated August 6, 2015

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