UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
MED - DENT, INCORPORATED
S E T T L E M E N T A G R E E M E N T
This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-89 (hereinafter "the ADA"), with the United States Department of Justice against Med - Dent, Inc., in Presque Isle, Maine. The complaint alleges that Med - Dent, Inc., the owner of a medical office building, violated Title III of the ADA and the implementing regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Justice, 28 C.F.R. Part 36 (hereinafter "Standards"), by failing to remove barriers to access to the office building.
Specifically, [REDACTED], an 86 year-old woman who uses a wheelchair, alleges that steps at the exterior entrances and an interior stairwell of the office of her treating neurologist created a barrier, preventing her access to the physician's office. Mrs. [REDACTED] adds that the doctor was required to examine and treat her in a van at the parking lot of the office building, denying her full and equal enjoyment of medical services. The U.S. Attorney's Office believes that Mrs. [REDACTED]'s complaint raised an issue of general public importance because the medical office building contained one of the few neurology practices in eastern and northern Maine.
The parties to this Settlement Agreement are the United States of America and Med - Dent, Inc. In the interests of resolving this matter by voluntary means, the parties hereby agree as follows:
1. The office building owned by Med - Dent, Inc., located at 165 Academy Street, Presque Isle, Maine, is a professional office building of health care providers, and its operations affect commerce. The building is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(F) covered by Title III of the ADA. Med - Dent, Inc. is a public accommodation.
2. Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in places of public accommodation with respect to the provision of any goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.
3. Under the ADA, a public accommodation must remove barriers to access in places of public accommodation located in existing facilities when removal is readily achievable.
4. The United States Attorney's Office maintains that installation of a vertical platform lift at the interior stairwell is readily achievable, and that such installation by Med - Dent, Inc. is required by law. Med-Dent, Inc. disputes the contention of the United States Attorney's Office.
5. In settlement of this disputed matter, Med - Dent, Inc. will within 18 weeks of the effective date of this agreement, install a vertical platform lift at the interior stairwell of the medical office building, provide training in operation of the lift to all persons who are employed or become employed at the office building, and implement a system to insure all persons who desire to use the lift receive proper instruction and are capable of operating or using the lift.
6. The vertical platform lift will comply with Standards § 4.11, including all sections of the Standards referenced in Standards § 4.11 and facilitation of unassisted entry, operation, and exit from the lift in compliance with Standards § 4.11.2.
7. The vertical platform lift will be capable of elevating and lowering both persons who have mobility impairments and their wheelchairs to the basement and first floor levels of the office building owned by Med - Dent, Inc., located at 165 Academy Street, Presque Isle, Maine.
8. Med - Dent, Inc. has installed ramps to the front exterior entrances of the office building and further agrees within sixty (60) days to install in compliance with Standards § 4.13.9 door hardware on each door used by patients or visitors to the building. Med - Dent, Inc. also agrees within sixty (60) days to post in compliance with Standards § 4.6.4 vertical signage that is visible in front of each accessible parking space so that each sign cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space.
Implementation and Enforcement of the Agreement
9. This settlement agreement is a public agreement. A copy of this document or any matter contained or referenced in it may be made available to any person by Med - Dent, Inc. or the Department of Justice. Med - Dent, Inc., the officers of Med - Dent, Inc. and the lessees of the office building owned by Med - Dent, Inc. shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person upon request.
10. The U.S. Department of Justice may review compliance with this Settlement Agreement at any time. If the Department of Justice believes that this Settlement Agreement, or any requirement thereof, has been violated, it may institute a civil action in Federal district court to enforce the terms of the Agreement. Prior to filing any civil action, the Justice Department shall provide written notice to Med - Dent, Inc. of the possible violation and a period of ten (10) days in which Med - Dent, Inc. will have the opportunity to cure the alleged violation, except in the case of an asserted violation of the Agreement regarding the mechanical operation of the vertical platform lift, Med-Dent, Inc. will have sixty (60) days to cure any alleged violation.
11. Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with respect to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the right of the Department of Justice to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
12. 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, will be enforceable under its provisions.
13. This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth herein and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the continuing responsibility of Med - Dent, Inc. as well as any other lessor or lessees of the office building owned by Med - Dent, Inc., located at 165 Academy Street, Presque Isle, Maine to comply with all aspects of Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
14. This Agreement shall be binding on all successors in interest and Med - Dent, Inc. shall have a duty to so notify all such successors in interest. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the undersigned as well as the President, Treasurer and all shareholders of Med-Dent, Inc. AGREE and CONSENT to the form, content, and execution of the foregoing Settlement Agreement:
For United States of America: Jay P. McCloskey United States Attorney
James M. Moore Date
Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney's Office
U.S. Department of Justice
Post Office Box 2460
Bangor, ME 04402
For Med - Dent, Inc.:
Francis E. Bemis, Esq. Date
Attorney for Med-Dent, Inc.
Harding Law Offices
427-429 Main Street
Presque Isle, ME 04769