Settlement Agreement Under The Americans With Disabilities Act Between The United States Of America And Miramar Beach Apartments, Inc.

  1. The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and MiraMar Beach Apartments, Inc. (hereinafter, MiraMar), a Florida corporation.
  2. As used herein, "ADA" means the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12101 et seq. (1990), its implementing regulations, and any interpretations of that statute or those regulations issued by the United States.
  3. As used herein, "Standards" means the ADA Standards for Accessible Design, 28 C.F.R. pt. 36, Appendix A.
  4. As used herein, "Title III" means title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12181-12189 (1990), its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 36 and appendices, and any interpretations of the statute, regulation, or appendices issued by the United States.
  5. MiraMar Beach Apartments currently has 12 apartments available for rental to transient guests. It is a place of lodging within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. ァ 12181(7)(A) and 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.104, and is thus a place of public accommodation within the meaning of 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.104. MiraMar Beach Apartments, Inc. is a public accommodation, as it owns, leases, leases to, or operates the apartments within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. ァ 12182(a) and 28 C.F.R. Section 36.201(a). MiraMar is located at 92 Avenida Messina, in Sarasota, Florida.
  6. The United States enters into this Agreement pursuant to its statutory authority, under 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188(b) and 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.503, to enforce the ADA. The parties to this Agreement enter into this Settlement Agreement in order to avoid litigation.
  7. On or about December 10, 1996, the United States received a complaint alleging that MiraMar violated title III of the ADA by refusing service to the complainant, an individual with a vision impairment who was to be accompanied by her service dog. The complainant had sought to make the reservation by phone. MiraMar allegedly denied the complainant the right to the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of the MiraMar Beach Apartments, in violation of Section 36.202 (a) of the title III regulation (Title 28). In refusing to allow the complainant to rent the apartment of her choice, and restricting her choice of apartments to only those in which a pet was allowed, MiraMar also allegedly violated Section 36.302 (c) of title III by failing to make a reasonable modification in their policies, practices and procedures, so as to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.
  8. The United States investigated this complaint, pursuant to the authority granted by 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188(b) and 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.502. In the course of this investigation, the United States found that the complainant had been denied the right to choose an apartment of her liking because she was to be accompanied by a service dog, and that MiraMar had refused to rent her an apartment because she is blind.
  9. The MiraMar Beach Apartments denies these allegations, and denies that it has violated the ADA. However, in order to resolve this matter and avoid litigation, the hotel has agreed to take the steps outlined below.

ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN BY THE MIRAMAR BEACH APARTMENTS:

  1. The MiraMar Beach Apartments agrees to take the steps detailed below to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not discriminated against on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the offered goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations, in accordance with 42 U.S.C. ァァ 12182(b)(1)(A)(i), (ii); and 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.202.
  2. The MiraMar Beach Apartments shall ensure that it will allow persons with disabilities to stay at their facility, and will welcome persons with disabilities accompanied by service animals, as required by 42 U.S.C. ァ 12182(b)(2)(A)(iii) and 28 C.F.R. ァァ 36.201 and 36.302, unless to do so would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered.
  3. As evidence of its good-faith effort to resolve the complaint filed with the Department of Justice, within 90 days of the effective date of this agreement, the MiraMar Beach Apartments shall pay the complainant $7,500. The MiraMar Beach Apartments will provide the United States with written notice of the completed payment within five business days of their completion.
  4. The parties acknowledge that the United States is authorized, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188(b)(1)(B), to bring a civil action under Title III, enforcing the ADA in any situation where a pattern or practice of discrimination is believed to exist or a matter of general public importance is raised. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the United States agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit in this matter.
  5. This Agreement is limited to the facts and allegations set forth within it. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Agreement is limited to the alleged violations of the ADA by MiraMar Beach Apartments or by any owners, operators, lessors, and/or lessees of MiraMar Beach Apartments.
  6. If the United States determines that MiraMar Beach Apartments has failed to comply with any provision of this Agreement, the United States shall provide the MiraMar Beach Apartments with written notification of the alleged violation. The MiraMar Beach Apartments shall have twenty days to cure the alleged violation. Failure to cure such alleged violation shall constitute a subsequent violation, within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. ァ 12188(b)(2)(C)(ii) and 28 C.F.R. ァ 36.504(a)(3)(ii). In the event of a failure to cure the alleged violation within twenty days of the receipt of such notice, the MiraMar Beach Apartments shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty of no more than $100,000, in addition to any appropriate compensatory damages.
  7. Any failure of the United States to enforce any provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement, and invalidation of any particular provision or portion of a provision shall not affect the validity of this Agreement, which shall continue to have full force and effect.
  8. In the event that MiraMar Beach Apartments fails to comply in a timely fashion with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining advance written Agreement with the United States as to a temporary modification of the relevant terms of the Agreement, all terms of this Agreement shall become immediately enforceable in any United States District Court in which venue lies.
  9. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document, or any information contained therein, may be made available to any person. MiraMar Beach Apartments and the United States shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person or entity upon request.
  10. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  11. This Agreement shall be binding on the United States and on MiraMar Beach Apartments and its successors in interest, and MiraMar Beach Apartments has a duty to so notify all such successors in interest. Provided that the United States shall not have commenced any action or proceeding to enforce the terms of this Agreement, or furnished any written notice of non-compliance, by November 26, 1999, then this Agreement and all of the terms contained herein shall terminate, and be of no further force or effect. In the event that the United States has commenced an action or proceeding to enforce the terms of this Agreement, or furnished written notice of non-compliance, this Agreement shall be extended by the time period used to cure the defect and/or enforce the Agreement, as determined by the United States.
  12. This Agreement, and any attachments thereto, constitute 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 or either party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, shall be enforceable regarding the matters raised herein.
  13. Signers of this Agreement on behalf of the parties represent that they are authorized to bind those parties to this Agreement.

    Signed:

    For MiraMar Beach Apartments:


    _________________________      
    Mary Ann Rueswald
    President
    MiraMar Beach Apartments, Inc.

    For the United States:


    _________________________      
    Bill Lann Lee
    Acting Assistant Attorney General

    John L. Wodatch
    Section Chief
    Renee M. Wohlenhaus
    Acting Deputy Section Chief
    Marc Dubin
    Trial Attorney
    Disability Rights Section
    Civil Rights Division
    United States Department of Justice
    P.O. Box 66738
    Washington, D.C. 20035-6738
    202-307-6075

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Updated August 6, 2015

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