This Settlement Agreement is entered into by the Wetzel County Commission, West Virginia (the "Commission") and the United States of America, through the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section (the "Department of Justice").
A complaint was 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 Commission, alleging that the Wetzel County Courthouse ( the "Courthouse") is inaccessible to individuals who use wheelchairs. The complaint also alleges that the restroom in the Courthouse is inaccessible and that there are no accessible parking spaces for persons with disabilities.
The Commission alleges that because of financial restraints it is unable to make the entrance and restroom in the Courthouse accessible to individuals with disabilities. The Commission alleges that it has developed alternative methods to make its services, programs, or activities in the Courthouse readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The Commission also alleges that it is taking steps to obtain an accessible facility to conduct its judicial and county functions.
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 to 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 Commission and the United States, desiring to resolve this matter without resort to litigation, agree to the following voluntary compliance agreement:
- The ADA applies to the Commission 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 of the Commission's performance of its obligations under this Settlement Agreement, the Department of Justice agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation of Complaint No. 204-83-5 and to refrain from filing a civil suit arising from its investigation of Complaint No. 204-83-5.
- The Commission agrees that the various services, programs, and activities that it provides to the public shall be made accessible to all qualified individuals with disabilities. Specifically, County employees will go outside of the Courthouse to meet with or deliver court or county documents to individuals with mobility impairments who otherwise cannot enter the Courthouse. County employees will meet individuals with disabilities in their cars in the parking spaces designated for persons with disabilities, that are located on the side entrance of the Courthouse. County employees may also make arrangements to meet individuals with disabilities at alternate locations that are accessible.
- The Commission asserts that the courts in the Courthouse are accessible to persons with disabilities.
- The Commission has published its policy for providing services to individuals with disabilities in the local newspaper. In addition, the Commission agrees that the following notice shall be posted at all entrances to the Courthouse and at the parking spaces designated for persons with disabilities:
- In accordance with the requirements of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Wetzel County Commission and court operate each service, program, or activity, so that the service, program, or activity, when viewed in its entirety, is readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. Upon request by a person with a disability, proceedings of the Wetzel County Commission and court will be moved to an accessible location. In addition, upon request by a person with a disability, Commission staff will arrange meetings and deliver Commission materials to alternate accessible locations. Any individual with a disability requiring information, or needing assistance, should contact [name and telephone number], for additional information.
- The Commission is in the process of obtaining a facility for county and judicial functions that will be accessible to individuals with disabilities. The Commission will continue to take all appropriate steps to locate an accessible location for its offices. The Commission will notify the Department of Justice when it obtains this facility.
- If the Department of Justice determines that this Settlement Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated, it may re-open its investigation of the Wetzel County Commission under title II of the ADA or institute a civil action seeking specific performance of the provisions of this Settlement Agreement and other appropriate relief in any appropriate Federal court.
- Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce the entire Settlement Agreement, or any provision thereof, shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department of Justice's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Settlement Agreement.
- 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 Commission 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 Commission's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
For the Wetzel County Commission:
For the United States:
_____________________________________ Date:______________ John L. Wodatch, Chief>
Eve Hill, Attorney
Brenda Sheppard, Investigator
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice