Southington Restaurant to Make Changes to Comply with Americans with Disabilities Act
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 the Smokin’ with Chris Restaurant in Southington, to resolve allegations that the restaurant was not operating in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”).
The settlement agreement resolves an ADA complaint filed by an individual with mobility disabilities alleging that the Smokin’ with Chris facility was not accessible. The restaurant is in the process of making the changes to its facility required by the settlement agreement, including creating accessible parking spaces, adding an accessible entry route and entrance to the restaurant, providing a ramp to the accessible entrance, constructing an accessible restroom, and adding accessible seating in the dining, bar, and patio areas. Smokin’ with Chris will continue to make improvements to its facility over the next year.
Under federal law, private entities that own or operate places of “public accommodation,” including restaurants, 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 noted the commitment of the owners of Smokin’ with Chris to work collaboratively with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to address the ADA issues and to increase the restaurant’s accessibility without litigation.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to enforcing the Americans with Disabilities Act, which ensures that individuals are able to access and enjoy the state’s restaurants and other places of public accommodation,” stated U.S. Attorney Durham. “We appreciate the cooperation of the owners of Smokin’ with Chris throughout our investigation and their readiness to agree to remediate the restaurant’s architectural barriers.”
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.
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.