Manhattan U.S. Attorney Settles Lawsuit Against Owners And Operators Of Rosa Mexicano Restaurants For Violations Of The Americans With Disabilities Act
Restaurant Owners Agree To Remedy Numerous Violations Of The ADA At Three Manhattan Locations And Pay $30,000 Penalty
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today a settlement of a lawsuit against the owners and operators of the three Manhattan locations of the popular Rosa Mexicano restaurant chain for violations of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”). The defendant owners and operators of the Rosa Mexicano restaurants are ROSA MEXICANO COMPANY, WEST 62 OPERATING LLC, FENIX RESTAURANT, INC., and ROSA MEXICANO USQ LLC. The settlement, in the form of a consent decree, was approved today by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Sullivan.
The lawsuit was the first to be brought as a result of the Manhattan Restaurants ADA Compliance Initiative, announced in September 2011. As part of the initiative, the U.S. Attorney’s Office is reviewing and evaluating the ADA compliance of the “most popular” restaurants in Manhattan as designated by the 2011 Zagat Guide.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “The comprehensive corrective measures agreed to by Rosa Mexicano will give individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to enjoy one of New York City’s most popular restaurants, as is required by the ADA. While we hope that other proprietors will voluntarily comply with this important civil rights law rather than face litigation, our Office remains committed, through our ongoing Restaurants Initiative, to ensuring that everyone can have access to the world-class offerings on the menu in New York City restaurants.”
According to the Complaint filed in Manhattan federal court and other public documents:
The U.S. Attorney’s Office identified numerous violations of the ADA at each of Rosa Mexicano’s Manhattan locations: 61 Columbus Avenue (“Rosa Mexicano Lincoln Center”), 1063 First Avenue (“Rosa Mexicano First Avenue”), and 9 East 18th Street (“Rosa Mexicano Union Square”). Most significantly, Rosa Mexicano Lincoln Center lacks an accessible main entrance, and its “alternate entrance” is also non-compliant in several respects. Rosa Mexicano
First Avenue similarly lacks an accessible entrance, and all three of its restrooms are inaccessible to persons with disabilities. At Rosa Mexicano Union Square, both the main and “alternate” entrances fail to comply with the ADA, as do the men’s and women’s restrooms.
Today’s consent decree requires the restaurants to improve the accessibility of their entrances, waiting areas, bar areas, dining areas, and restrooms. Notably, the consent decree provides for renovations to the main and alternate entrances at Rosa Mexicano Lincoln Center; the creation of an accessible alternate entrance and the construction of an accessible restroom at Rosa Mexicano First Avenue; and renovations to the entrance and the men’s and women’s restrooms at Rosa Mexicano Union Square. In addition, the owners and operators of the restaurants will pay a $30,000 civil penalty to the United States.
Since President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law in 1990, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has taken a leading role in bringing numerous New York City institutions into compliance with the ADA regulations. They include Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center, the Metropolitan Opera, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, the Apollo Theater, the Puck Building, the Shubert Theaters, the Rainbow Room, and Radio City Music Hall.
Mr. Bharara thanked the Disability Rights Section of the Department of Justice, in particular its architectural staff, for their assistance in this matter.
The Restaurants Initiative is being handled by the Office’s Civil Rights Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Amy A. Barcelo, Christopher Connolly, and Cristine Irvin Phillips are in charge of the Initiative.
To file a complaint alleging that a restaurant or any other place of public accommodation within the Southern District of New York is not accessible to persons with disabilities, use the Civil Rights Complaint Form available on the United States Attorney’s Office’s website, www.usdoj.gov/usao/nys. Complaints should be sent to:
U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of New York
86 Chambers Street, 3rd Floor
New York, New York, 10007
Attention: Chief, Civil Rights Unit