1. The parties to this Settlement Agreement are the United States of America, Dragon City I, Inc. ("Dragon City"), and Yi Xiang Ou. Dragon City is an Alabama corporation which operates a privately owned restaurant located at 28611 U.S. Highway 98, Daphne, Alabama 36526. Yi Xiang Ou is the sole owner, shareholder, member or manager of the restaurant.
2. This Agreement is reached under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§12181 et seq. and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, to resolve an investigation initiated by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Alabama after it was informed by Ms. Mamie Louise Everett (a resident of Fairhope, Baldwin County, Alabama; herein, "Ms. Everett") that she and her neighbor friend had been refused service and asked to leave Dragon City because Ms. Everett was accompanied by her service animal.
3. Dragon City is a place of public accommodation under 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(B) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.
4. The United States found in its investigation that on Thursday, April 27, 2012, complainant Ms. Everett, accompanied by her neighbor, visited Dragon City. Because she is blind, Ms. Everett's service animal accompanied her. The dog was in working harness at all times. While inside the restaurant, Ms. Everett and her neighbor asked to be seated and were then told by the hostess "no dogs were allowed." Further, the hostess informed Ms. Everett that they must leave the premises of Dragon City. Ms. Everett informed the hostess she was blind and that the dog was her service animal. The hostess nevertheless required Ms. Everett, her neighbor, and the service dog to leave the premises.
Outside the restaurant with her growing concern, being upset, and having experienced embarrassment and humiliation, Ms. Everett telephoned the City of Daphne Police Department. A Daphne Police Department Officer was dispatched to Dragon City. The Officer explained to Dragon City representatives that the customer had the right to be accompanied by her service dog, which was trained to assist Ms. Everett because she was blind, and so long as the dog was under control and accompanied its owner. Eventually, Dragon City allowed Ms. Everett, her service dog, and her neighbor to enter the restaurant. However, they were required to sit well away from all other customers, near a service area in the restaurant. Although they ate a meal, Ms. Everett remained upset and distraught.
5. As a result of its investigation, the United States has determined that when Ms. Everett first attempted to enter the restaurant, she was denied equal access to the goods and services of Dragon City when it failed to modify its policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability. Even though Dragon City eventually allowed Ms. Everett and her service dog to enter following intervention by the city police, she was then restricted in where she could sit and her access to the buffet was limited. Accordingly, she was further denied equal access to the goods and services of Dragon City. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12182(a) & (b); 28 C.F.R. §§ 36.201(a), 36.202, 36.302(c).
6. The parties have determined their respective interests can be met without engaging in litigation, and this Agreement is made to provide access to persons with disabilities and avoid the costs as well as the burdens of litigation.
7. Consistent with the law, Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou shall not discriminate against any individual on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations of the Dragon City restaurant by failing to modify its policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability.
8. Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou shall adopt, maintain, and enforce the policy attached as Attachment A to this Settlement Agreement, which covers treatment of customers using service animals. Within 15 days after the effective date of this Agreement, Dragon City shall provide a copy of the policy in Attachment A to each employee or owner or contract worker ("staff") of Dragon City. This restaurant shall post a copy of the policy in the area of the restaurant where staff are given information on company policy (e.g., Worker's Compensation, Wage and Hour Laws, etc.). The policy will be communicated to staff in English and in any additional language(s) necessary for all staff to understand the policy.
9. Within 30 days after the effective date of this Agreement, Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou will also develop or procure signs, not less than 6" x 12" with a font of 48, stating "This Restaurant Welcomes Customers With Disabilities Who Are Accompanied By Their Service Animals," which will also include this message in Braille. The signs will be installed next to the two entry doors of the restaurant on the latch side of the door. The signs shall be mounted so that the bottom of the upper row of letters is at a height of 60 inches from the ground.
10. Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou shall pay damages of TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($2,500.00) by check made payable to "Mamie Louise Everett." 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(2)(c). This payment will be delivered with this signed Agreement to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Alan Moore, United States Attorney's Office, 63 South Royal Street, Suite 600, Mobile, Alabama 36602, for further delivery to Ms. Everett. This liability for damages is a joint and several obligation of Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou.
11. To vindicate the public interest, Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou shall pay a civil penalty of TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS ($2,500.00) by check made payable to the "United States of America." 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(2)(c). This payment will be delivered with this signed Agreement to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Alan Moore, United States Attorney's Office, 63 South Royal Street, Suite 600, Mobile, Alabama 36602. This liability for a civil penalty is a joint and several obligation of Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou.
12. All staff or owners who may be in contact with the public (including, but not limited to, hosts, hostesses, wait staff, bartenders, whether employees or contract workers, and similar personnel) of Dragon City shall undergo suitable training on the obligations of public accommodations to serve persons with disabilities. This training shall be concluded for current staff and Yi Xiang Ou within 30 days of the date of this Settlement Agreement. All future staff or owners shall be provided this same training within 30 days of their date of hire. The training, for purposes of this Settlement Agreement only, shall include each staff member or owner being provided a copy of the "Policy" attached hereto as Exhibit A; a copy of the explanatory items attached hereto as Exhibit B ("ADA 2010 Revised Requirements for Service Animals"). If the staff member or owner does not read and comprehend the English language, Yi Xiang Ou (or future owner of Dragon City), shall arrange for this information to be communicated to that staff or owner in their respective native languages so that each staff member or owner will have a full and complete understanding. Each staff member or owner shall date, sign and print their respective names legibly on the Policy indicating their understanding and agreement to abide by the Policy adopted by Dragon City.
For the duration of this Settlement Agreement, upon the anniversary of its effective date, Yi Xiang Ou or other future owner of Dragon City will provide copies of the signed Policy forms described just above to the U.S. Attorney's Office at the address provided herein below.
13. In consideration for this Agreement, the United States agrees to refrain from filing any civil lawsuit based on the incident that occurred April 27, 2012. The United States reserves, however, the right to file a civil lawsuit to enforce this Agreement under the terms of paragraph 14.
14. If Dragon City and/or Yi Xiang Ou fail to take any of the actions described in Section III of this Agreement under the terms and time periods specified, without obtaining sufficient advance written approval from the United States, Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou will correct this noncompliance within 30 days of being notified of the noncompliance and shall be liable to the United States of America for a civil penalty of at least $1,000 for each required action not taken, in addition to any appropriate compensatory damages caused by the failure to comply. Payment of the penalty shall not be the exclusive remedy of the United States upon any breach of this Settlement Agreement by Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou.
15. Failure by the United States Department of Justice to enforce this entire Agreement, or any provision thereof, with regard to any deadline or any other provision will not be construed as a waiver of its right to do so for other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
16. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document, or any information contained in it, may be made available to any person.
17. This Agreement is binding on Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou. This Agreement is also binding on any successors in interest to Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou, and each has a duty to notify all such successors in interest.
18. This Agreement is the entire agreement between the United States of America, Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou. No other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of either party, not in this written Agreement will be enforceable.
19. This Agreement is limited to the facts in it. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not purport to list all violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act that may have occurred or are occurring at Dragon City.
20. The individuals signing this Agreement represent that they are authorized to bind the parties to this Agreement.
21. Notices of any kind required or contemplated under this Agreement shall be made by mailing the notice via United States Postal Service, first class certified mail, return receipt requested. Notice will be considered given on the date of receipt identified on the return receipt. Notices to the United States Attorney's Office shall be mailed to the address in the signature block below of the undersigned Assistant U.S. Attorney. Notices to Dragon City and Yi Xiang Ou shall be mailed to 28611 U.S. Highway 98, Daphne, Alabama 36526.
22. Deadlines listed in this Agreement that fall on weekends or holidays will be extended to the next business day.
23. The effective date of this Agreement is the latest-dated signature below. The Agreement will remain in effect until three years after the Effective Date.
FOR THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA:
KENYEN R. BROWN
United States Attorney
Gary Alan Moore
Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney's Office
Southern District of Alabama
63 South Royal Street, Suite 600
Mobile, AL 36602
Date: July 3, 2012.
FOR YI XIANG OU & DRAGON CITY I, INC.
Yi Xiang Ou
Date: July 3, 2012.
Dragon City I, Inc.
By: Yi Xiang Ou
Date: July 3, 2012.