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John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that the U.S. Attorney’s Office has reached a settlement agreement with Blake I. Winokur, D.M.D., P.C., doing business as Rolling Hills Dentistry, and its landlord, 53 North Street, LLC, to resolve allegations that the facilities of the dental office were not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).
The settlement agreement resolves an ADA complaint filed by an individual with physical disabilities who uses a wheelchair. The complainant alleged that upon entering the building in which Rolling Hills Dentistry is located, he could not access the entrance to Rolling Hills Dentistry because it could only be accessed using a staircase. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, 53 North Street, LLC, the landlord of Rolling Hills Dentistry, will install an ADA-compliant platform lift for each of the two staircases in the shared interior space of the building. As part of the settlement agreement, Rolling Hills Dentistry will remediate minor ADA-compliance issues in its patient toilet room.
Under federal law, private entities that own or operate places of “public accommodation,” including professional offices of healthcare providers, hospitals, and other service establishments, are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of disability. The ADA authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate complaints and undertake periodic reviews of compliance of covered entities. The Justice Department is also authorized to commence a civil lawsuit in federal court in any case that involves a pattern or practice of discrimination or that raises issues of general public importance, and to seek injunctive relief, monetary damages, and civil penalties.
U.S. Attorney Durham thanked the owners and management of Rolling Hills Dentistry and 53 North Street, LLC, for their cooperation with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and their commitment to addressing the issues raised by the ADA investigation without litigation.
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica H. Soufer of the District of Connecticut in coordination with the Disability Rights Section of the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in Connecticut is not accessible to persons with disabilities may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 203-821-3700.
Additional information about the ADA can be found at www.ada.gov, or by calling the Justice Department’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 and (800) 514-0383 (TTY). More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.