DJ# 204-86-82I. Background
- This matter was initiated by a complaint filed with the United States Department of Justice ("the Department"), against the Town of Knowlton, Wisconsin ("Knowlton"). The Department investigated the complaint under the authority granted by section 203 of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12132-12134. The complaint alleges that Knowlton violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. ï½§ï½§ 12131-12134, and the Department's implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35. The ADA prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the services, programs, and activities of State or local governments.
The complaint alleges that public meetings conducted by the Town of Knowlton are inaccessible to individuals with mobility impairments. In particular, the complaint alleges that the meeting room where the Knowlton town meetings are held is not accessible to individuals with disabilities who cannot climb stairs.
- The Town of Knowlton denies that it acted unlawfully with respect to the complainant's allegations.
- The Attorney General is authorized under 42 U.S.C. ï½§ 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA if the Department of Justice fails to secure voluntary compliance.
- The parties have agreed to settle this matter without resolving the factual and legal dispute regarding the lawfulness of the Town of Knowlton's actions. 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 Knowlton Town Board who 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§ 12132; 28 C.F.R. ï½§ 35.130.
- The ADA applies to the Town of Knowlton 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. III. Actions to be Taken by the Town of Knowlton
- The Town of Knowlton agrees to take the following actions within 30 days of the date of this Agreement:
- The Town of Knowlton shall develop and post in a prominent location of its accessible public areas a written policy statement indicating procedures available for persons with disabilities to a obtain reasonable modifications to Knowlton's policies, practices, and procedures. This policy statement shall include the telephone number and contact information of the individual designated to handle such requests.
- The Town of Knowlton shall adopt and publish a procedure providing for relocating all public meetings to an accessible location if the Town of Knowlton receives a request for relocation to an accessible location at least three business days before any public meeting. The policy shall provide that the Town of Knowlton will make reasonable efforts to relocate meetings if less than three business days notice is given.
- The Town of Knowlton agrees to obtain by December 1, 1999, at least one cost estimate for installing a ramp that will make the Knowlton Town Hall's lower level fully accessible to all individuals. The Town of Knowlton agrees to provide the Department of Justice with all cost estimates for the ramp. In the event a cost estimate is not obtained by December 1, 1999, the Town of Knowlton agrees to provide documentation to the Department of Justice proving the Town of Knowlton used its best efforts to obtain such an estimate.
- The Town of Knowlton agrees to install, by May 1, 2000, the ramp described in paragraph 8 (c). If after obtaining three estimates, the Town of Knowlton concludes that it would be an undue burden to install the ramp, the Town of Knowlton agrees to contact the United States Department of Justice for further negotiations.
- In consideration of the Town of Knowlton's performance of its obligations under this Agreement, the Department agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation of complaint number 204-86-82 and to refrain from filing a civil suit arising from its investigation of this complaint.
- The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that this Agreement has been violated, it may institute a civil action in Federal district court to enforce this Agreement or the requirements of Title II, following written notice to the Town of Knowlton of the possible violation and a period of 10 days in which the Town of Knowlton has the opportunity to cure the alleged violation.
- Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with respect to any deadline or any other provision shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department of Justice's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
- 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 Town of Knowlton or the Department on request.
- The person signing this document for the Town of Knowlton represents that he or she is authorized to bind the Town of Knowlton to this Agreement.
- The effective date of this Agreement is 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 set forth herein and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the Town of Knowlton's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of Title II of the ADA.
For the United States:
By:___________________________ Date _______________
PEGGY A. LAUTENSCHLAGER
United States Attorney
MULLEN J. DOWDAL
Assistant United States Attorney
660 W. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 1585
Madison, WI 53701-1585