Settlement Agreement Under The Americans With Disabilities Act Of 1990 Between The United States Of America And Wal Mart Stores, Inc., 702 S. W. 8th Street, Bentonville, Arkansas

DJ # 202-54M-5 and DJ# 202-64-26

I. Background

  1. This matter was initiated by two complaints filed with the United States Department of Justice ("the Department"), against Wal Mart Stores, Inc., ("Wal Mart"). The complaints have been investigated by the Department under the authority granted by section 308 (b) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188. The complainants, XXXX and XXXX, each have a physical disability. The complaints allege that the Wal Mart store in Kannapolis, North Carolina, and the Wal Mart Super Center in Indiana Pennsylvania, respectively, have failed to maintain accessible features, and failed to remove architectural barriers to access by individuals with disabilities where such removal is readily achievable. Specifically, the complaints allege that store managers have placed merchandise in the accessible parking spaces of their respective stores. As a result, the complainants, along with other disabled patrons, are forced to use other accessible parking and travel longer distances to reach the store.
  2. Wal Mart denies that it acted unlawfully with respect to the complainants. Wal Mart acknowledges that on one occasion the Kannapolis, North Carolina, Wal Mart had merchandise blocking one accessible parking space. The manager of the Wal Mart Super Center in Indiana, Pennsylvania, alleges that the accessible parking spaces were relocated to another portion of the parking lot.
  3. The parties have agreed to settle this matter without resolving the factual and legal dispute regarding the lawfulness of Wal Mart's actions.
  4. The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America and Wal Mart Stores, Inc.
  5. This Agreement does not constitute an admission of liability and/or fault on the part of Wal Mart. The parties enter into this Settlement Agreement in order to avoid litigation and hereby agree as follows:

    II. Title III Coverage

  6. Title III of the ADA and its implementing regulation prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability by places of public accommodation. 42 U.S.C. ァ 12182 ; 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.201.
  7. Wal Mart is a sales establishment and is, therefore, a place of public accommodation as defined in section 301(7)(B) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ァ 12181, and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.104.
  8. The ADA requires that places of public accommodation maintain in operable working condition those features of facilities and equipment that are required to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.211(a). Where a public accommodation must provide accessible parking spaces, those parking spaces, and the access aisles and accessible routes from the spaces, must remain accessible and must not be blocked by obstacles.
  9. The complainants are individuals with a disability, as defined by the ADA and its implementing regulation. 42 U.S.C. ァ 12102; 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.104.

    III. Actions to be Taken by Wal Mart

  10. Wal Mart agrees to take the following actions:
    1. Within 45 days of the effective date of this Agreement, Wal Mart shall distribute to all store managers a copy of the pamphlet "Access Equals Opportunity: Retail Stores" provided by the Department. Wal Mart shall also redistribute its written policy prohibiting store managers and their associates from blocking any accessible parking spaces.
    2. Wal Mart shall utilize the pamphlet in item "a" above as supplemental title III training for all present and future store managers to ensure that all people with disabilities, including those who need and use accessible features, are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner and are afforded the same service and courtesy as that afforded any customer of the store.
  11. Upon completion of the actions required by paragraph 10, Wal Mart Stores, Inc., shall notify the Department of Justice that it has fulfilled its obligations and shall provide the Department of Justice with written certification that all store managers have received the training pamphlet and Wal Mart's parking policy.
  12. In consideration of Wal Mart's performance of its obligations under this agreement, the Department agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation of complaint number 202-54M-5 and complaint number 202-64-26, and to refrain from filing a civil suit arising from its investigation of complaint number 202-54M-5 and complaint number 202-64-26.

    IV. Implementation

  13. Under section 308(b)(1)(B) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188(b)(1)(B), the Attorney General is authorized to bring a civil action under 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.
  14. 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 to enforce this Agreement or the requirements of title III in the appropriate Federal district court, following written notice to Wal Mart Stores, Inc., 702 S. W. 8th Street, Bentonville, Arkansas, 72716 of the possible violation and a period of twenty (20) days in which Wal Mart has the opportunity to cure the first alleged violation. The Attorney General is authorized to seek civil penalties pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188(b)(2)(C). For any subsequent alleged violations of this Agreement, the Department may institute a civil action against Wal Mart without any waiting period for Wal Mart to cure the alleged violation.
  15. 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.
  16. This Agreement shall become effective as of the date of the last signature below. The term of this agreement shall be three years from the effective date.
  17. 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 5, and it does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal, State or local law. This Agreement does not affect the continuing responsibility Wal Mart Stores, Inc., to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

    For the United States:

     

    Bill Lann Lee
    Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

     

    _____________________________       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
    (202) 514-3882

    For Wal Mart Stores, Inc.

     

    _____________________________       Date: _________________
    Printed Name and Title:

    Wal Mart Stores, Inc.
    702 S. W. 8th Street
    Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8095

Updated August 16, 2016

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