- This matter was initiated by a complaint, postmarked January 14, 1997, filed with the United States Department of Justice ("the Department"), against the Town of Kingstree, South Carolina. The complaint was filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12131-12134. The complainant is XX XX XX, who is blind. The complainant alleges that, during meetings with the Town Manager and Code Enforcement Official, he requested certain regulations be provided to him on tape, and at other times he repeated his request to the Code Enforcement Official for these same regulations on tape. The complainant alleges his requests for taped copies were ignored.
- The Town of Kingstree denies that the Town Manager or Code Enforcement Official acted unlawfully with respect to the complainant. The Town of Kingstree maintains that it has attempted to accommodate the complainant by providing a reader to assist the complainant each time he requested information, as well as providing the same information to the complainant's Attorney.
- The parties have agreed to settle this matter without resolving the factual and legal dispute regarding the lawfulness of actions taken by the Town of Kingstree. The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate fully the allegations of the complaint in this matter and to determine if the Town of Kingstree is in compliance with title II of the ADA and the Department's implementing regulation, issue findings, and, where appropriate, negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements.
Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the Department of Justice fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing a civil suit in this matter.
- The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America and the Town of Kingstree, South Carolina.
- This Agreement does not constitute an admission of liability and/or fault on the part of the Town of Kingstree. The parties enter into this Agreement in order to avoid litigation and hereby agree as follows:
II. Title II Coverage
- Title II of the ADA and its implementing regulation prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by public entities. 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12131 ; 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 35.101.
- The ADA applies to the Town of Kingstree because it is a public entity as defined in the Department of Justice's regulation implementing title II. 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 35.104. As a public entity that has fifty or more employees the ADA requires the Town of Kingstree to appoint an ADA Coordinator and the establishment of a grievance procedure.
- The ADA requires the Town of Kingstree to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids 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. In determining what type of auxiliary aid is necessary, a public entity must give primary consideration to the request of the individual with a disability. 28 C.F.R.ï½§35.160(b). Auxiliary aids for individuals with vision impairments include taped texts. 28 C.F.R. ï½§35.104.
III. Actions to be Taken by the Town of Kingstree
- The Town of Kingstree agrees to take the following actions within 45 days of the date of this Agreement:
- The Town of Kingstree shall develop and post in a prominent location of its public areas a written policy statement indicating procedures available for persons with disabilities to a obtain reasonable modifications to the Town of Kingstree's policies, practices, and procedures.
- The Town of Kingstree shall adopt and publish a grievance procedure providing for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints, including the name, telephone number, and office address of the ADA Coordinator.
- The Town of Kingstree shall train all present and future staff members to ensure that all people with disabilities are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner and are afforded the same service as that afforded any citizen.
- The Town of Kingstree shall record public documents on tape upon request, at no cost to the complainant or other qualified members of the public with disabilities. Taped versions will be made available within 3 business days of the request.
- In consideration of the Town of Kingstree's performance of it's obligations under this agreement, the Department agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation of complaint number 204-67-63 and to refrain from filing a civil suit arising from its investigation of complaint number 204-67-63.
- 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 the Federal District Court for South Carolina appropriate Federal district court. 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 civil action seeking specific performance of the provisions of this Agreement in an appropriate Federal court.
- This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this Agreement or any information contained herein may be made available to any person. The Department may provide a copy of this Agreement to any person upon request.
- This Agreement shall become effective as of the date of the last signature below.
- 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 shall be enforceable. This Agreement is limited to the facts as set forth in paragraphs 1 through 3, and it does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal, State or local law.
For the United States:
Isabelle Katz Pinzler
Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights
By:_____________________________ Date: _________________
John L. Wodatch, Chief
Allison Nichol, Deputy Chief
Ron Whisonant, Investigator
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
For the Town of Kingstree, South Carolina:
By: ____________________________ Date: ___________________
City of Kingstree, S.C. 27834-1696