SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

BETWEEN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AND

CIRCUS CIRCUS MISSISSIPPI, INC. D/B/A/ THE GOLD STRIKE CASINO RESORT

UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990

DJ#202-40-33



Fact Sheet  |   Department of Justice Press Releases

INTRODUCTION

  1. This Agreement (the “Agreement”) is made and entered into by the United States of America (the “United States”) and Circus Circus Mississippi, Inc. (the “Company”), a corporation formed under the laws of the State of Mississippi (collectively, “the Parties”). Circus Circus Mississippi is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of MGM Mirage, a Delaware corporation.
  2. This Agreement resolves an investigation and compliance review conducted by the United States Department of Justice (the “Department”) of the Gold Strike Casino Resort (the “Gold Strike”) under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189 (2000) (the “ADA”). The Gold Strike Casino Resort is a multiuse facility located at 1010 Casino Drive, Tunica Resorts, Mississippi 38664. The Company owns and operates the Gold Strike.
  3. The Gold Strike includes a casino and a 31-story hotel with 1131 guest rooms and suites. The Gold Strike also has six restaurants or bars, a meeting and convention center, a theater, and specialty shops.
  4. This matter was commenced when the Department received a complaint filed by a person with a disability against the Company, doing business as the Gold Strike. The complainant, who uses a wheelchair, alleged that he was injured while a guest at the Gold Strike, when he fell trying to operate the controls in the shower of his hotel room. He alleged that the placement and configuration of the roll-in shower controls were unsafe and violated the ADA accessibility standards. The Department investigated the complaint and initiated a compliance review of the Gold Strike, pursuant to the Attorney General’s authority under 42 U.S.C. § 2188(b)(1)(A)(I) (2000). The Department reviewed architectural plans and other information provided by the Company and conducted two site visits of the Gold Strike facilities.
  5. The Company is a public accommodation because it is a private entity that owns, leases to, and operates places of public accommodation. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181(6), (7) (2000) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104 (2006). Accordingly, the Company is subject to the requirements of Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189 (2000), and its implementing regulations, which are found at 28 C.F.R. Part 36.
  6. The Gold Strike was designed and constructed for first occupancy after January 26, 1993. The Gold Strike opened in 1994 and the Gold Strike Hotel followed in 1997. The Department contends that all portions of the Gold Strike constitute newly constructed facilities within the meaning of Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12183(a)(1) (2000) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.401(a) (2006). The Company does not concede that all portions of the Gold Strike Casino constitute newly constructed facilities covered by Title III of the ADA but nevertheless has voluntarily agreed to enter into this Agreement. Newly constructed facilities must comply with the new construction requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 12183 (2000), which is implemented through the Department’s regulations found at 28 C.F.R. Subpart D, §§ 36.401 through 36.407 (2006), including the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (hereinafter “the Standards”), 28 C.F.R Part 36, App. A.
  7. Title III requires that a public accommodation ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from its goods and services. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a) (2000) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.201(a) (2006). Title III also requires a public accommodation to make reasonable modifications to its policies, practices and procedures when such modifications are necessary to afford such goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations to individuals with disabilities unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that taking those steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii) (2000) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.302 (2006). A public accommodation must also remove architectural barriers in existing facilities, including communication barriers that are structural in nature, where such removal is readily achievable, i.e., easily accomplishable and able to be carried out without much difficulty or expense. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iv) (2000) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.304 (2006). Further, a public accommodation must maintain in operable working condition those features that are required to be accessible. 28 C.F.R. § 36.211(a) (2006). Moreover, a public accommodation is required to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities, unless the entity can demonstrate that taking such steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the good, service, facility, privilege, advantage, or accommodation being offered or would result in an undue burden. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(iii) (2000) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.303 (2006).

FINDINGS BY THE UNITED STATES

  1. The Department’s investigation confirmed the complainant’s allegations regarding accessibility deficiencies.
  2. In the course of its investigation, the Department found other alleged violations of the Standards, which are listed in Attachment A to this Agreement. The Company disputes some of these alleged violations and contends that others have already been remedied during the course of the Department’s investigation. Some of the Department’s more significant findings include the following:
    1. Guest rooms and suites. The Gold Strike Hotel has an inadequate number of guest rooms/suites accessible to people with mobility impairments in certain categories of rooms/suites. In many suites or rooms designated as accessible, telephones, shelves, controls and operating mechanisms are not located within required reach ranges or are otherwise inaccessible; shower stalls have “curbs” and/or are not otherwise configured in compliance with the Standards; and amenities (e.g., counters, appliances, cabinets) are at an inaccessible height or without adequate knee clearance or maneuvering space. Many of the doors in guest rooms not designated as accessible, including doors connecting guest rooms and doors into guest bathrooms, do not have a 32-inch clear opening width, as defined in the Standards.
    2. Elevators. The Casino lacks passenger elevator access to one of its levels, even though it is an elevator building.
    3. Telephones. In general, there is an insufficient number of accessible phones, including phones mounted at the proper height, with volume control and hearing aid compatibility. There is a lack of directional signage to the nearest TTY, and no required shelf and outlet at certain banks of telephones.
    4. Signage. In many instances, permanent room signage is not mounted on the latch side of the door with the centerline mounted at 60” above the finished floor, and does not have both Braille and raised letters.
    5. Door opening force. Many doors, including those to common areas such as meeting rooms and public restrooms, as well as those to and within guest rooms, require more than 5 lbf opening force.
    6. Assistive listening devices. None of the assembly areas at the Gold Strike (including ballrooms, meeting rooms and theaters) has an adequate number of assistive listening devices.
    7. Accessible seating. The Millennium Theatre lacks the required number of accessible aisle seats and fixed companion seats.
    8. Public toilet rooms. Toilets, urinals, and paper towel dispensers are often mounted at a noncompliant height. Lavatories are often mounted at the incorrect height and/or have inadequate clearance or clear floor space. Some lavatories have exposed hot water and drain pipes that are not insulated or otherwise configured so as to protect against contact. Some toilet rooms with six or more stalls lack an “ambulatory” stall as specified in the Standards §4.22.4.
    9. Restaurants, clubs, and bars. Certain restaurants and bars with fixed tables or booths lack the required percentage of accessible fixed tables or booths. In some instances there is both an accessible and inaccessible entrance but it is difficult to find the accessible entrance because of the lack of adequate directional signage.
    10. Parking. Although most parking areas contain more than the required number of accessible parking spaces, two employee parking areas lack the required number of accessible parking spaces. In many instances signage for designated accessible spaces does not comply with the Standards.
    11. Locker rooms and dressing rooms. Some locker rooms and dressing rooms lack fixed accessible benches, accessible dressing areas, and other required features.
  3. The Department also identified other violations of Title III of the ADA and its implementing regulations, including those provisions enumerated in paragraph 7, above. For example, the Department found that the Company did not provide an opportunity for potential guests to reserve accessible rooms and suites on the Internet, even though guests can reserve other rooms and suites on the Internet.
  4. 11. The Company does not concede the accuracy of these findings, but nevertheless has voluntarily entered into this Agreement.

TERMS OF AGREEMENT

  1. In order to avoid potential litigation, the parties agree to the terms of this Settlement Agreement. These terms are intended to redress the alleged violations of the ADA that have been identified by the United States.
  2. The Company agrees to correct each alleged violation identified in Attachment A, to the extent the allegation has not already been remedied, in accordance with the schedule set forth below, and subject to conventional building industry tolerances per Standards §3.2.
    1. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Company shall:
      1. Ensure that the hotel registration counter is accessible;
      2. Ensure that the PBX has a TTY for use by callers who are deaf or hard of hearing; and
      3. Ensure that reservations can be made for accessible rooms over the Internet reservation system.
    2. Within nine months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Company shall:
      1. Remedy each of the allegedly non-compliant circumstances described in the pertinent portions of Attachment A, with respect to the following rooms and/or spaces:

        (1) Accessible routes from the parking areas to interior locations;

        (2) Parking;

        (3) Telephones adjacent to registration area;

        (4) Restaurants and bars;

        (5) Casino gaming area.

    3. Within 18 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Company shall:
      1. i. Remedy each of the allegedly non-compliant circumstances described in the pertinent portions of Attachment A, with respect to the following rooms and/or spaces:

        (1) Toilet rooms adjacent to registration area;

        2) Drinking fountains;

        (3) Pool and Spa;

        (4) Workout room;

        (5) Meeting and Convention areas;

        (6) Gift shop;

        (7) Employee areas (including Back of House);

        (8) Elevators in the guest room tower and to the ballroom/conference room levels.

      2. Provide at least one public text telephone on the site.
    4. Within 24 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Company shall remedy each of the allegedly non-compliant circumstances described in the pertinent portions of Attachment A with respect to:
      1. The designated accessible guest rooms of various types, so that the Gold Strike Hotel’s number and distribution of accessible rooms comply with the Standards. The number and dispersal of accessible guest rooms as set forth on Attachment B comply with the Standards. (Exception: the suite equipped with a bathroom with a roll-in shower indicated on Attachment B will be completed within 36 months.)
    5. Within 36 months of the effective date of this Agreement, the Company shall remedy each of the allegedly non-compliant circumstances described in the pertinent portions of Attachment A with respect to:
      1. The additional accessible suite equipped with a bathroom with a roll-in shower as set forth on Attachment B;
      2. The Millennium Theatre. The dispersal of the accessible seating locations as illustrated on Attachment C complies with the Standards;
      3. iii. All doors within guest rooms not designated as accessible, including connecting doors into adjoining guest rooms and doors into bathrooms;
      4. iv. Passenger Elevator access to the area presently housing the Gold Strike Executive Offices. Converting the freight elevator that services this area to dual freight/passenger use will satisfy this requirement; and
      5. v. In addition to the foregoing, within 36 months of the effective date of this Agreement the Company shall ensure that any violation identified on Attachment A not specifically identified elsewhere in this paragraph (Para. 13) be remedied; and make a good faith effort to ensure that all of its Gold Strike facilities that are not expressly addressed in Attachment A are accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities.
  3. The Company will offer to upgrade guests with disabilities to an accessible room in a more expensive class of room, if available, at no additional charge if they request a class of room in Attachment B which has no accessible room, or has no accessible room with a roll-in shower if that type of room is requested. Guests may always upgrade to another available room at their own expense if the class of room they request has an accessible room or rooms, but the accessible rooms are temporarily sold out.
  4. The Company may, in its discretion, choose to submit to the Department architectural plans for any structural alterations or new construction that it undertakes during the term of the Agreement. The Department agrees to review and comment on any architectural plans submitted in a timely manner, but not later than 30 business days after receipt of such plans.
  5. If the Company renovates any space described in Attachment A such that any alleged violation(s) identified in Attachment A no longer exist(s), then the Company shall be excused from remedying the alleged violation(s) because the violation(s) will be moot, but shall ensure that the renovated space fully complies with the ADA.
  6. The Company shall not discriminate against individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in the full and equal enjoyment of its goods, services, and facilities.
  7. The Company shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when the modifications are necessary to afford its goods, services, or facilities toindividuals with disabilities who visit the Gold Strike, unless the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, or facilities.
  8. The Company shall maintain in operable working condition those features of facilities and equipment that are required to be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. For example, the Company shall ensure that access to elevator hall call buttons is not blocked by garbage cans, and that accessible stalls in toilet rooms are kept clear of storage items.
  9. Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Company shall pay to the United States the sum of $25,000 in civil penalties by certified check payable to the United States Treasury and sent by overnight delivery to the Department, at the address in paragraph 30.b below.
  10. Within 120 days of the effective date of this Agreement, as defined in Paragraph 35, the Company shall designate or hire an ADA Compliance Officer for the Gold Strike Casino Resort and shall identify that individual to the United States. The Company will ensure that the ADA Compliance Officer, at the Company’s expense, undergo training on the requirements of Title III of the ADA no later than 90 days after appointment. The ADA Compliance Officer shall be responsible, inter alia, for handling any disability-related complaints from the guests at the Gold Strike.
  11. Within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Company shall train all firstline supervisors and managers on Title III of the ADA as it applies to a casino resort, and on the resort’s obligations to ensure that all guests with disabilities are afforded an equal opportunity to participate in the services, facilities and activities offered at the Gold Strike. During the term of this Agreement, the Company shall ensure that all new firstline supervisors and managers receive comparable training within three months of hire.
  12. Within 60 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the Company shall develop an ADA Complaint Resolution Policy to address ADA-related complaints by guests of the Gold Strike, and shall provide a copy of the policy to the Department for review and input. This policy shall identify the ADA Compliance Officer and the process by which complaints will be investigated and resolved. The policy shall be implemented by the Company within 60 days of receiving the Department’s comments.
  13. During the term of this Agreement the Company shall provide a report annually to the Department, on the anniversary of the effective date of the Agreement, regarding the Company’s progress with respect to the completion of its responsibilities pursuant to Paragraphs 13-19 and 21-23 of this Agreement. The report shall identify and document (e.g., with copies of construction contracts, photographs, and/or design drawings) the modifications that the Company made, report on any additional assistive listening receivers it purchased and the number of requests for assistive listening devices it received if the number of devices available is less than that set forth in the Standards, document any training of employees that occurred (by date and the content of the training), and provide copies of any ADA-related policies that the Company adopted.
IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT
  1. The Department shall have the right, during the term of this Agreement and with reasonable prior notice to the Company of not less than 21 days, to conduct inspections of the Gold Strike facilities and to request information, documents, or photographs in order to evaluate compliance with this Agreement. The Department shall make every effort to conduct its inspections at times that are agreeable to the Company, so that the Company can ensure that minimal disruption to its operations results from such inspections.
  2. If the Department believes that the Company is not in compliance with this Agreement or any requirements contained herein, the Department agrees to notify the Company in writing of the alleged noncompliance and attempt to seek a resolution of the matter with the Company. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution within 30 days of the date of the Department’s written notification, and the alleged noncompliance concerns element(s) of the facility in existence as of the effective date of this Agreement as referenced on Attachment A, the United States may seek enforcement of the terms of this Agreement in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution within 30 days of the date of the Department’s written notification, and the alleged noncompliance concerns new elements or facilities not in existence as of the effective date of this agreement, the United States may seek enforcement of the terms of this Agreement, and/or to enforce compliance with the ADA, in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi. In the event the court determines that the Company has failed to make a modification required pursuant to this Agreement, including Attachment A, on or before the deadline set forth in Paragraph 13, such failure to comply shall be treated as a second violation of Title III of the ADA and the United States may seek, and the court may assess, civil penalties as provided in 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(2)(C) (2000). In the event that the United States files suit to enforce compliance with the ADA, as distinguished from compliance with the terms of this Agreement, nothing in this Agreement shall be construed as a waiver of any of the Company’s defenses to an action under the ADA.
  3. In consideration of, and consistent with, all the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation into and from filing a civil suit regarding all matters contained within this Agreement and its attachments, except as provided in Paragraph 26.
  4. The Department’s failure to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision hereof, with regard to any deadline or any other provision contained herein, shall not be construed as a waiver by the Department of any right to do so.
  5. This Agreement shall be binding upon the Company, and its agents and employees. In the event the Company seeks to transfer or assign all or part of its interests in any facility covered by this Agreement, and the successor or assign intends on carrying on the same or similar use of the facility, then, as a condition of sale, the Company shall obtain the written accession of the successor or assign to any obligations remaining under this Agreement for the remaining term of this Agreement.
  6. All notices, demands, or other communications to be provided pursuant to this Agreement shall be in writing and delivered by fax or overnight mail to the following persons and addresses (or such other persons and addresses as any party may designate in writing from time to time):

a. For the Company:

Holly Gagnon
President
Gold Strike Casino Resort
1010 Casino Center Drive
Tunica Resorts, MS 38664

Eric Wolfman
CFO
Gold Strike Casino Resort
1010 Casino Center Drive
Tunica Resorts, MS 38664

Anthony DelVescovo
General Counsel for the Gold Strike
Beau Rivage
875 Beach Blvd.
Biloxi, MS 39530

Phyllis A. James
Senior Counsel
MGM MIRAGE
3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

C. Geoffrey Weirich
Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP
600 Peachtree Street, Suite 2400
Atlanta, GA 30308
404-815-2221 (ph)
404-685-5221 (fax)

b. For the Department:

Amanda Maisels
Trial Attorney
U.S. Department of Justice
Disability Rights Section
1425 New York Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
202-305-8454 (ph)
202-305-9775 (fax)

  1. This Agreement, including Attachments A, B, and C, constitutes the entire Agreement between the Parties relating to Department of Justice Investigation No. 202-40-33 with respect to the Gold Strike, on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by either party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this written Agreement shall be enforceable.
  2. If any provision of this Agreement is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this Agreement shall nonetheless remain in full force and effect, provided however, that if the severance of any such provision materially alters the rights or obligations of the parties, the Department and the Company shall engage in good faith negotiations in order to adopt such mutually agreeable amendments to this Agreement as may be necessary to restore the parties as closely as possible to the initially agreed-upon relative rights and obligations.
  3. This Agreement is limited to the Gold Strike facility described in Paragraph 2 above, and does not apply to any other design or construction project of or related to the Company. It is limited to the matters described herein and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law. This Agreement does not affect the Company’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA not covered by this Agreement.
  4. A signatory to this document in a representative capacity for a corporation represents that he or she is authorized to bind such corporation to this Agreement.
  5. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. The Agreement shall remain in effect for 42 months from the effective date, unless extended by written agreement of the parties.

 

FOR THE UNITED STATES:


WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division


____________________________
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
L. IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief
PHILIP L. BREEN, Special Legal Counsel
AMANDA MAISELS, Trial Attorney
BETH A. ESPOSITO, Trial Attorney
MICHELE ANTONIO MALLOZZI, Architect
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
(202) 305-8454 (ph)
(202) 305-9775 (fax)


Date:           May 2, 2007          




FOR CIRCUS CIRCUS MISSISSIPPI, INC.

______________________________
HOLLY GAGNON
President of the Gold Strike
for Circus Circus Mississippi, Inc.

Date:___________________



Cases & Matters by ADA Title Coverage
| Legal Documents by Type & Date | ADA Home Page

May 17, 2007