Complaint DJ# 202-35-97
- This action was initiated by a complaint filed with the United States Department of Justice (the "Department") against the now-defunct Nation's Capital Tours, Inc. ("NCT"). The complaint was investigated by the Department under the authority granted by section 308(b) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the "ADA"), 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12188.
- The complaint alleged that on June 16, 1997, NCT denied two individuals who use wheelchairs and a companion equal opportunity to participate in or benefit fully from its services, on the basis of disability. Specifically, the complaint alleged that the Hyatt Regency Bethesda Hotel, on behalf of a guest who was one of two individuals using a wheelchair, called NCT to make a reservation for the group to go on a tour of Washington, D.C. on the following Friday, June 20, 1997.
- NCT scheduled pickup at the hotel the following Friday to take the group on the tour. However, Thursday afternoon, the guest returned a call from NCT in response to a message from NCT stating there was a "problem" with the tour. She was told that she could not go. NCT explained that the original NCT employee with whom the hotel had spoken earlier had made a mistake when he said that the person using a wheelchair could go. The woman explained that NCT employees would not help her to board the bus, because their insurance could not cover them if she fell. The guest asked NCT if she could instead bring own companion to help her. She was told "no" and was not offered any other accommodations or substitute services. Then, the guest asked if another bus was available, and was again told "no."
- As a result of the last minute cancellation, the guest did not have the time to arrange a tour with another company, and so did not go on a tour of the city while she visited Washington, D.C.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., is an entity separate from Nation's Capital Tours, Inc. Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C. is a registered limited liability corporation with operating privileges granted by the Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority. Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., has cooperated in the government's investigation and has demonstrated its commitment to provide its services to persons with disabilities in the future.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., denies that any action it has taken constitutes a violation of the ADA. This settlement agreement ("Agreement") shall not be construed as an admission of liability by Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C.,
- The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and Nations' Capital Tours, L.L.C.
The parties hereby agree as follows:
II. Title III Coverage
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., is a public accommodation as defined in section 301 (7) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12181, and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 36.104. In part, the ADA requires public accommodations to provide an equal opportunity to participate in the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of an entity, and to remove barriers to access for persons with disabilities where it is readily achievable for them to do so, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12182(b) and 28 C.F.R. ï½§ï½§ 36.301-36.304; and to make reasonable modifications to its policies and practices as necessary to afford its goods and services to persons with disabilities, as long as doing so does not fundamentally alter the nature of its goods and services, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii) and 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 36.302.
III. Actions to be taken by Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., agrees to ensure that it will not, on the basis of disability, deny to any individual with a disability the opportunity to use sightseeing services provided by Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C.,, and will modify any policies, practices, or procedures necessary to afford its services to persons with disabilities unless to do so would require a fundamental alteration in the service provided.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., agrees that new vehicles with a seating capacity in excess of eight passengers (including a driver) purchased or leased after the effective date of this Agreement must be accessible to persons with mobility impairments.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., agrees to ensure that any individual with a disability who requests sightseeing service in an accessible vehicle receives such service, and that the service shall be identical to services provided to persons without disabilities and/or the same terms and conditions, including the same cost and schedule.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., will, within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, enter a contract, or make a formal written arrangement with other sightseeing service providers operating in Washington, D.C. to share accessible vehicles in order to provide services identified herein to persons with disabilities.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., may require up to twenty-four (24) hours advance notice to provide this service to persons with mobility impairments who require lift or other special equipment in order to enjoy Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C.'s services.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., will use its best efforts to satisfy a request for an accessible vehicle which is received with less than twenty-four (24) hours notice.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., will not require that an individual with disabilities be accompanied by an attendant.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., will not refuse to serve an individual with a disability or require anything contrary to this part based upon conditions of insurance coverage or rates.
- Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., will inform all employees of the availability of accessible vehicles, notice requirements, and all other policies regarding reservations of accessible services or vehicles as set forth in this Agreement.
- Section 308 (b)(l)(B) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12188(b)(l)(B), authorizes the Attorney General to bring a civil action to enforce title III in any situation where a pattern or practice of discrimination is believed to exist or where a matter of general public importance is raised. In consideration of this Agreement as set forth above, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing a civil suit in this matter.
- The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that this Agreement or provision thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action in the federal district court for the District of Columbia, or any other appropriate federal district court, following written notice to Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., of the possible violation and a period of ten (10) days in which Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., has the opportunity to cure the alleged violation.
- This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this Agreement or any information contained herein may be made available to any person. Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., or the Department will provide a copy of this Agreement to any person upon request.
- This Agreement will become effective as of the date of the last signature below. The Agreement will be binding on Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., and its successors in interest. The owners and operators of Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C., have a duty to so notify all such successors in interest.
- The 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 Agreement is limited to the facts as set forth in paragraphs one through two, and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law. This Agreement does not affect Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C.'s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.
- A signatory to this Agreement in a representative capacity for a partnership, corporation, or other such entity represents that he or she is authorized to bind such partnership, corporation, or other entity to this Agreement.
For the United States:
BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
RENEE M. WOHLENHAUS, Deputy Chief
ROBERT J. MATHER, Trial Attorney
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
For Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C.,:
Nation's Capital Tours, L.L.C.
8502 16th Street, Suite 110
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910