The following information is exerpted from

 

 

Link: http://www.ada.gov/roumou-taxi-sa.htm

 

 

For more information about guide and other service animals or about the National Association of Guide dog Users, please visit

 

http://nagdu.org

 

or contact

 

Marion Gwizdala, President

National Association of Guide Dog Users

national Federation of the Blind

813-626-2789

Hotline: 888-NAGDU411 888-624-3841

Info@nagdu.org

 

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND ALTAGRACIA ROUMOU DJ No. 202-90-32 ——————————————————————————– I. INTRODUCTION 1.The parties to this Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”) are the United States of America (“United States”) and Altagracia Roumou (“Roumou”), located on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. 2.The parties agree that it is in their best interests, and the United States believes that it is in the public interest, to resolve this dispute without engaging in protracted litigation. The parties have therefore voluntarily entered into this Agreement, as follows: II. THE PARTIES 3.The United States Department of Justice (the “Department”) is responsible for enforcing title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, as amended, and the relevant regulations implementing title III, 28 C.F.R. pt. 36 and 49 C.F.R. pts. 37 and 38. 4. Ms. Roumou is a private individual, who resides on St. Thomas, Virgin Islands. She is licensed to and engaged in the business of providing taxi services to members of the general public on a regular and continuing basis on St. Thomas. Ms. Roumou is the registered owner of a “safari” taxi, designated by St. Thomas Taxi Medallion # 0307. As such, Ms. Roumou’s taxi business is a private entity which provides public transportation services within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12181(10) and 49 C.F.R. § 37.29. III. BACKGROUND 5.This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, with the Department by Zane Birnie (“Birnie”). 6.Mr. Birnie is an individual who is blind and utilizes a service animal. Mr. Birnie alleges that on May 4, 2012, on St. Thomas, he was denied taxi service by Ms. Roumou because she refused to transport his service animal. 7. Mr. Birnie is an individual with a disability within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 12102, 42 C.F.R. § 37.3, and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. 8.Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of a disability in the full and equal enjoyment of specified public transportation services provided by an entity that is primarily engaged in the business of transporting people and whose operations affect commerce. 42 U.S.C. § 12184(a); 49 C.F.R. § 37.29(c). Section 37.167(d) of Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations provides that such an entity shall permit service animals to accompany individuals with disabilities in vehicles. 9. Ms. Roumou admits that she did not permit Mr. Birnie to ride in her taxi on May 4, 2012, but claims that she did not know that he was blind or that his dog was a service animal. 10.In order to resolve this matter without engaging in protracted litigation, the parties have agreed to settle this matter according to the terms in this Agreement. This Agreement shall not be construed as an admission of liability by Ms. Roumou. 11.In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the United States agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or filing a civil suit pertaining to the allegations made in this matter, except as provided in the Enforcement and Implementation sections of the Agreement. IV. REMEDIAL ACTION 12.Consistent with title III of the ADA, Ms. Roumou shall not discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the taxicab services she provides by excluding or providing unequal treatment to persons with disabilities, including those who use service animals. 42 U.S.C § 12184; 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.201, 36.202; 49 C.F.R. §§ 37.5, 37.21, 37.29. Specifically, Ms. Roumou will make reasonable modifications to policies, practices, and procedures that are necessary to afford goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with disabilities, including those who use service animals. 42 U.S.C. §12184(b)(2)(A); 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.302(a), (c); 49 C.F.R. §§ 37.5, 37.21, 37.29, 37.167(d). 13.Service Animal Policy: Ms. Roumou agrees that, henceforth, all persons with disabilities, including those accompanied by service animals, will be welcome in all taxicabs that she operates. Ms. Roumou agrees to adopt and abide by the Service Animal Policy (Exhibit A) attached to this Agreement. Ms. Roumou agrees that she shall not refuse to transport a person with a disability because that person is accompanied by a service animal. She also agrees that she shall not charge a person with a disability any extra fee or ask a person with a disability to comply with any additional condition of service because they are accompanied by a service animal even if an extra fee or charge or condition of service is required for the transportation of a pet. 14.Training: Ms. Roumou shall attend the next available training offered by the Virgin Islands Taxi Cab Commission regarding service to persons with disabilities by taxicab operators. Ms. Roumou shall inform the Department when she has completed this training. 15.15. Ms. Roumou shall not retaliate against the complainant for filing a complaint with the Department or otherwise exercising rights protected by the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12203(a). V. MONETARY RELIEF FOR COMPLAINANT 16. The ADA authorizes the Attorney General to seek a court award of compensatory damages on behalf of individuals aggrieved as the result of violations of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(2)(B); 28 C.F.R. § 36.504(a)(2). Within ten (10) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Ms. Roumou shall compensate the complainant in this matter by providing him a certified check in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1000.00), via certified mail to the address provided by the United States. Ms. Roumou will simultaneously send a copy of the check and the accompanying letter to counsel for the United States. 17. In consideration for the compensatory damages set forth above, the United States agrees that within ten (10) days of its receipt of the Agreement signed by Ms. Roumou, it will obtain the complainant’s signature on the Waiver and Release of Claim form attached hereto as Attachment B. The Department will mail the original of the signed Waiver and Release of Claim form to Ms. Roumou within fifteen (15) days of the Department’s receipt of same. 18.The ADA also authorizes the United States Attorney General to seek a civil penalty as a result of violations of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(2)(C); 28 C.F.R.§ 36.504(a)(3). Ms. Roumou shall make a payment to the United States in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000) as a civil penalty in the public interest. This payment shall be made in two installments of five hundred dollars ($500) by certified check or money order payable to the United States Treasury. The first installment is due within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement. The second installment is due within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this Agreement. The installments shall be delivered to counsel for the United States. VI. ENFORCEMENT 19.This Settlement Agreement cannot be modified or amended except by an instrument in writing, agreed to and signed by the Parties. 20.The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the United States believes that this Agreement or any of its requirements have been violated, it may institute a civil action in Federal District Court to enforce this Agreement or the requirements of title III, following written notice to Ms. Roumou of possible violations and a period of 30 days in which Ms. Roumou has the opportunity to cure the alleged violations. 21. For purposes of the immediately preceding paragraph, it is a violation of this Agreement for Ms. Roumou to fail to comply in a timely manner with any of its requirements without obtaining sufficient advance written Agreement with the United States for an extension of the relevant time frame imposed by the Agreement. 22.Failure by the United States to enforce this entire Agreement or any of its provisions or deadlines shall not be construed as a waiver of the United States’ right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement. VII. IMPLEMENTATION 23.The Agreement, including Attachments A, and B, constitute 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. 24.This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth above and does not purport to remedy or resolve any other existing or potential violations of the ADA or any other local or Federal law. 25.This Agreement does not affect Ms. Roumou’s continuing responsibility to comply with all applicable aspects of title III of the ADA. In particular, title III imposes an obligation to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when the modifications are necessary to afford goods, services, and facilities to individuals with disabilities. 26.A copy of this document or any information contained in it will be made available to any person by Ms. Roumou or the United States on request. 27.The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. This Agreement will remain in effect for three (3) years from the effective date of this Agreement 28.The provisions of this Settlement Agreement shall be deemed severable, and any invalidity or unenforceability of any one or more of its provisions shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the other provisions herein. RONALD W. SHARPE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY DATED: May 15, 2014

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About harnessup

The National Association of Guide dog Users is the nation’s leading membership organization for blind people who use guide dogs. NAGDU is a strong and proud division of the National Federation of the Blind. NAGDU conducts public awareness campaigns on issues of guide dog use, provides advocacy support for guide dog handlers who face discrimination, supports sound policy and effective legislation to protect the rights of guide dog users, offers educational programs to school and civic organizations, and functions as an integral part of the National Federation of the Blind. For more information about the National Association of Guide Dog Users and to support their work, you can visit their website at HTTP://WWW.NAGDU.ORG Or send an email message to Info@NAGDU.ORG
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