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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of North Dakota

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 8, 2022

U.S. Attorney’s Office Reaches ADA Settlement with Jefferson Partners L.P. dba Jefferson Lines

FARGO - Interim United States Attorney Nicholas W. Chase announced today that the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of North Dakota entered into a settlement agreement with Jefferson Partners L.P. dba Jefferson Lines to resolve an allegation that the transportation company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA").

The settlement agreement resolves an ADA complaint alleging that a Jefferson Lines bus driver refused to allow a passenger, who used a walker to assist with mobility, to use the bus’s lift, located at the rear of the bus, to exit the bus. The complaint alleged that the bus driver instead required the passenger to walk from a seat at the back of the bus to the front of the bus and then use the stairs to get off the bus, all without the assistance of the walker. During its investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office learned that from January 1, 2017, through August 7, 2020, Jefferson Lines received twenty-four customer complaints regarding disability access issues, eight of which were complaints that a bus lift failed to work or that a driver failed to properly operate a lift.

Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Jefferson Lines will:

• train vehicle operators, personnel who assist passengers, and any personnel who operate lifts on the requirements of the ADA;

• require each such employee to demonstrate they can operate accessibility features and properly secure individuals who use mobility devices;

• test drivers on their ability to operate a vehicle’s accessibility features; and

• test all fixed-route vehicles weekly to ensure all accessibility features are operable and remove faulty vehicles from service until they can be repaired.

Jefferson Lines also agreed to compensate the complainant $5,000.00 for the alleged violation of the complainant’s rights under the ADA.

Interim U.S. Attorney Chase commended Jefferson Lines for cooperating throughout this investigation and for their commitment to the ADA. "For many people with disabilities, transportation is a challenging issue. The corrective measures agreed to by Jefferson Lines will allow individuals with disabilities better access to transportation services in North Dakota and around the United States. We hope other transportation providers remain focused on compliance with this important civil rights law. Our Office is committed to ensuring individuals with disabilities have full and equal access to places of public accommodation and the benefits of transportation services in North Dakota."

Since October 29, 2012, the fleets of all large, fixed-route over-the-road bus operators, such as Jefferson Lines, must be 100 percent readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. The ADA authorizes the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate complaints and undertake compliance reviews 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 raises an issue of general public importance, and to seek injunctive relief, monetary damages, and civil penalties.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara Vavrosky Iversen represented the United States in this matter, with assistance from Paralegal Specialist Michelle Erdmann.

Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in North Dakota is not accessible to persons with disabilities may file a complaint online at www.ada.gov or contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 701-297-7400.

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Component(s): 
Contact: 
Terry W. Van Horn 701-297-7458 terry.vanhorn@usdoj.gov
Updated March 8, 2022