Settlement Agreement Between The United States Of America And The Windsor County Superior Court Of Vermont

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-78-9

BACKGROUND

  1. This matter was initiated under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C ァァ12131-12134, with the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section ("Department"). An individual, who is deaf, alleges that during a hearing in the Windsor County Courthouse he requested, and was denied, a sign language interpreter. Windsor County Courthouse denies the allegation and voluntarily enters into this settlement agreement, which it deems consistent with longstanding county policy.
  2. 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 the Court's compliance with title II of the ADA and the Department of Justice's implementing regulations, issue findings, and, where appropriate, negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Further, the Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. ァ12133, to bring civil action to enforce title II of the ADA should the Department of Justice fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.
  3. The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America, the Windsor County Superior Court of Vermont. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking investigation and from filing civil suit in this matter. In the interest of securing compliance by voluntary means, the parties hereby agree as follows:

JURISDICTION

  1. The ADA applies to the Court because it is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulations implementing title II. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.104.
  2. Title II of the ADA prohibits the discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities, on the basis of disability, in the services, programs, or activities of a public entity such as the Court. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.130(a).
  3. Title II of the ADA requires that the services, programs, and activities provided by the Court, when viewed in their entirety, must be accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.150(a)
  4. Title II of the ADA requires the Court to take appropriate steps to ensure that communications with applicants, participants, and members of the public with disabilities are as effective as communication with others. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.160(a).
  5. Title II of the ADA requires the Court to 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. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.160(b).
  6. Title II of the ADA requires the Court to give primary consideration to the requested individual with disabilities regarding the appropriate auxiliary aid and service to be provided. 28 C.F.R. ァ35.160(2).

REMEDIAL ACTION

  1. The purpose of this Agreement is to ensure that the Court will 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 the Court.
  2. Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Court agrees to amend their written policies to include the attached "Policy on Effective Communication with Individuals with Disabilities in the Windsor County Superior Court", (hereinafter "Policy"). The attached Policy requires that auxiliary aids and services are to be provided by the Court when necessary to ensure effective communication upon reasonable notice to the appropriate Court official or responsible Court employee.
  3. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Court will install signage which includes the international symbol of access for hearing loss in prominent locations throughout the Courthouse over which the County exercises control notifying individuals of the availability of the Assistive Listening Device ("ALD"). The signage shall comply with ァ4.30.7(4) of the Standards for Accessible Design ("Standards"), 28 C.F.R. part 36, app. A.
  4. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Court agrees to distribute materials to personnel over whom they exercise control that includes information regarding the requirements of the ADA, the policy of the Court regarding effective communication, the different means available to achieve effective communication, and the procedure for accepting requests for auxiliary aids or services.
  5. Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Court agrees to train all appropriate Courthouse personnel regarding the requirements of the ADA. Specifically, the Court agrees to train all Courthouse personnel in responding to inquiries from individuals with disabilities who require accommodation(s) to participate in any service, program, or activity offered by the County.
  6. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Court further agrees to post the following notice in various prominent locations in the Courthouse. The Court will also publish this notice on all informational publications created and distributed by the Court, including, but not limited to: hearing notices, jury summons, and witness subpoenas. In addition, the Court will provide copies of the policy to members of the public upon request:
  7. Any individual with a disability requiring assistance accessing the services, programs, and/or activities at the Windsor County Courthouse, should contact the Clerk's office at (802) 457-2121 for further assistance.

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

  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 Court or the Department upon request. The Court will provide a copy of 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 and has not been able to resolve the dispute through reasonable attempts at conciliation, it may institute a civil action in Federal district court following written notice to the Court of the possible violation and a period of ten (10) days in which the Court has the opportunity to cure 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, will 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. The Agreement will remain in effect two years from the effective date or until the requirements contained in paragraphs eleven (11) through sixteen (16) have been met, whichever occurs later.
  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 Americans with Disabilities Act or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the Court's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of title II of the ADA.
  7. The signers of this document for the Court represent that they are authorized to bind the Court to this Agreement.

FOR WINDSOR COUNTY, VERMONT:

____________________________________
Hon. Kenneth Cooper, Ass't Judge



____________________________________
Hon. William Boardman, Ass't Judge



FOR THE WINDSOR COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT:


____________________________________
Hon. Alan Cook, Presiding Judge



____________________________________
Clerk's Office

Date____11/03/02____

FOR THE UNITED STATES:

RALPH F. BOYD, JR.,
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division

BY:____________________________________      Date:_12/02/02_
   JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
   SUSAN BUCKINGHAM REILLY, Deputy Chief
   ERIKA WESTRY, Investigative Assistant
   ANTHONY NAPOLI, Investigative Assistant

   Disability Rights Section
   Civil Rights Division
   U.S. Department of Justice
   950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
   Washington, DC 20530









ATTACHMENT

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Updated August 6, 2015

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