SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

BETWEEN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AND

OCONEE COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA,

UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NO. 204-67-120



This Settlement Agreement (the "Agreement") is entered into by Oconee County, South Carolina (the "County") and the United States of America ("the United States").

BACKGROUND

The five story Oconee County courthouse municipal facility (the "Courthouse") is located at 415 South Pine Street, Walhalla, South Carolina. The Courthouse was built in 2003. This matter was initiated as a compliance review of the Courthouse under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and the Department’s implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35. A site visit was conducted on August 22, 2003, by the United States which revealed numerous and significant violations of title II of the ADA. The United States surveyed the Courthouse for compliance with the Standards for Accessible Design, 28 C.F.R. Part 36, Appendix A (“ADA Standards”). The United States’ findings set forth below include violations of the ADA Standards as well as violations of the ADA and its regulations, 42 U.S.C. § 12132, 28 C.F.R. § 35.151.

The parties have decided to resolve this matter as set forth below without adjudication of factual and legal disputes. Because Oconee County and the United States desire to settle this matter without resort to litigation, the parties agree to the following Settlement Agreement:

JURISDICTION

1. The ADA applies to the County because it is a “public entity” as defined by title II. 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1).

2. The Attorney General of the United States (“Attorney General”) is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to determine the compliance of the County with title II of the ADA and the title II implementing regulations, to issue findings, and where appropriate, to negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Attorney General is authorized, under 42 U.S.C. § 12133, to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should the United States fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.

3. The Parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and Oconee County, a government entity located in the State of South Carolina.

4. In consideration of, and consistent with, the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit in this matter regarding all matters contained within this Agreement, except as provided in the section entitled “Implementation and Enforcement.”

REMEDIAL ACTIONS

5. For compliance purposes, all dimensions are subject to conventional building industry tolerances for field conditions. ADA Standards §§ 3.2. The burden is on Oconee County, or any successor in interest, to provide specific evidence of accepted dimensional tolerances, however, no dimensional tolerances shall apply where the ADA Standards specify a minimum dimension necessary for an element to be usable by persons with disabilities.

6. The County agrees to correct the following violations of the ADA Standards within the term of this Agreement:

(a).       There is no van accessible parking space in the South parking lot. One van accessible parking space is required. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(5)(b), 4.6.1, 4.6.4.

(b).       In the South parking lot, accessible parking spaces #1, #2, and #4 have slopes greater than 1:50 (2 percent). ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(5)(a), 4.6.3.

(c).       In the South parking lot, the access aisles between accessible parking spaces #1 and #2, and between accessible parking spaces #3 and #4, have slopes greater than 1:50 (2 percent). ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(5)(a), 4.6.3.

(d).       In the South parking lot, the curb ramp at the head of the access aisle between accessible parking spaces #1 and #2 has a cross slope greater than 1:50 (2 percent). ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(1), 4.3.8, 4.7.2.

(e).       In the South parking lot, the curb ramps located at the head of the access aisle between parking spaces #1 and #2, and at the head of the access aisle between parking spaces #3 and #4, have slopes on the left flared side greater than 1:12 (8.33 percent) and the width of the connected accessible route is less than 48 inches. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(1), 4.3.8, 4.7.5, Fig. 12(a).

(f).       There are no accessible parking spaces in the East Employee Parking Lot; one van-accessible parking space is required. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(5)(a)-(b), 4.6.2, 4.6.3, 4.6.4.

(g).       There are no accessible parking spaces in the Staff Parking Garage; one van-accessible parking space is required. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(5)(a)-(b), 4.6.2, 4.6.3, 4.6.4.

(h).       The vertical clearance from the Staff Parking Garage floor and the sprinkler heads is less than 98 inches for a van-accessible parking space and along one vehicle access route to that space from the garage entrance and exit. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(5)(b), 4.6.5.

(i).        The accessible route from the Main Street emergency exit has cross slopes greater than 1:50 (two percent). ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(1), 4.3.7.

(j).        There is an elevation change of approximately 30 inches between the Main Street emergency exit and bordering sidewalk, connected only via stairways. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.2(1), 4.1.3(9), 4.3.10.

(k).       There is no signage at the Main Street emergency exit indicating the location of the designated accessible entrance. ADA Standards § 4.1.2(7)(c).

(l).        The opening width of the metal detector located at the only designated accessible entrance on Short Street is less than 32 inches wide. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(1), 4.2.1, 4.3.3.

(m).      There is an elevation change of approximately 144 inches (12 feet) between the Main Street emergency exit and the first floor lobby, connected only via a stairway. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(8), 4.3.8.

(n).       There is an elevation change of approximately 48 inches between the Clerk of Court’s reception area and the Clerk´s drive up window, connected only via a stairway. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.1(3), 4.3.8.

(o).       There are no accessible routes to the witness stands in the two courtrooms on the second floor and the two courtrooms on the third floor due to steps. The witness stand on the fourth floor is accessed by a step and a lift without providing an accessible route. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(1), 4.3.2, 4.3.8, 4.5.2, 4.8.1.

(p).      There is an insufficient number of wheelchair locations provided within each of the fixed spectator seating areas in the two courtrooms on the second floor, the two courtrooms on the third floor, and the courtroom on the fourth floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(19)(a), 4.33.2, 4.33.3, 4.33.4. In each of the two courtrooms on the second floor there are 36 seats and one wheelchair location, so one wheelchair location must be added to each courtroom. In each of the two courtrooms on the third floor there are 70 seats and two wheelchair locations, so two wheelchair locations should be added to each courtroom. The courtroom on the fourth floor has a seating capacity of 192 and two wheelchair locations are provided, so two must be added. Id.

(q).      The court reporters´ stations in the two courtrooms on the third floor and the courtroom on the fourth floor are elevated 6 inches above the finished floor and are accessed via one 6-inch step. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(1), 4.3.2, 4.3.8, 4.5.2.

(r).       The width of the accessible routes between the witness stands and jury boxes in the two courtrooms on the third floor and in the courtroom on the fourth floor is too narrow. When a person in a wheelchair must make a turn around an obstruction that is less than 48 inches wide, the minimum clear width of the accessible route must be 42 inches. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(1), 4.3.3, Figure 7(a).

(s).       The width of the openings to the jury boxes in the two courtrooms on the third floor and in the courtroom on the fourth floor is too narrow. When a person in a wheelchair must make a turn around an obstruction that is less than 48 inches wide, the width of the opening must be 48 inches. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(1), 4.3.3, Figure 7(a).

(t).        There are no wheelchair locations provided within the jury boxes in the two courtrooms on the third floor and the courtroom on the fourth floor. One wheelchair location is required in each of the jury boxes on the third floor (the capacity of each is 14). One wheelchair location is required in the jury box on the fourth floor (the capacity is 18). ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(19)(a), 4.33.2, 4.33.3, 4.33.4.

(u).       One of the four prisoner holding cells in the basement lacks the following: side and rear grab bars, a 30" x 48" clear floor space in front of the lavatory for a forward approach, clear floor space at the toilet, 27 inches clear knee space at the lavatory, controls and operating mechanisms that are operable with one hand and do not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist, and a water closet with a height between 17-19 inches measured to the top of the toilet seat. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(1), 4.22, 4.16, 4.19, Figs. 28, 29, 31, 32.

(v).      Each common use break room on each of the four floors lacks an accessible counter and at least one accessible cabinet. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3 (12)(a), 4.25.3, Fig. 6(c).

(w).      In each women´s public multi-stall toilet room on each of the four floors, the designated wheelchair accessible stall is less than 60 inches wide, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the toilet seat paper dispenser is mounted higher than 54 inches above the finished floor, and the coat hook is mounted higher than 54 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.3(12)(a), 4.1.3(13), 4.2.6, 4.17.6, 4.17.3, 4.22.4, 4.25.3, 4.27.3, Fig. 6, 30(a), (c).

(x).       In each men´s public multi-stall toilet room on each of the four floors, the designated wheelchair accessible stall is less than 60 inches wide, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the toilet flush control valves are mounted on the narrow side of the toilet area, the toilet seat paper dispenser is mounted higher than 54 inches above the finished floor, and the coat hooks are mounted higher than 54 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.3(12)(a), 4.1.3(13), 4.2.6, 4.16.5, 4.17.2, 4.17.3, 4.17.6, 4.22.4, 4.25.3, 4.27.3, Fig. 6, 30(a), (c).

(y).       In the basement lobby unisex toilet room, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the toilet is centered more than 18 inches from the side wall, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirror is mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.2, 4.16.4, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, 4.22.6, Fig. 28, 29, 31.

(z).       In the data/maintenance unisex toilet room, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the toilet flush control valve is mounted on the narrow side of the toilet area, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirror is mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.4, 4.16.5, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, 4.22.6, Fig. 29, 31.

(aa).     In the juvenile prisoner´s toilet room in the basement, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the side grab bar is less than 42 inches long, the toilet is centered more than 18 inches from the side wall, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirror is mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.2, 4.16.4, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, Fig. 28, 29, 31

(bb).     In the prisoner´s unisex toilet room in the basement, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the side grab bar is less than 42 inches long, the toilet is centered more than 18 inches from the side wall, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirror is mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.2, 4.16.4, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, 4.22.6, Fig. 28, 29, 31.

(cc).     In the guard´s toilet room in the basement, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the toilet flush control valve is mounted on the narrow side of the toilet area, the toilet is centered more than 18 inches from the side wall, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirror is mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.2, 4.16.4, 4.16.5, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, 4.22.6, Fig. 28, 29, 31.

(dd).     In the clerk of the court’s women´s toilet room on the first floor, there is less than the required clear floor turning space of 60 inches diameter or a T-shaped space, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, and the toilet is centered less than 18 inches from the side wall. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.2.3, 4.16.2, 4.16.4, 4.22.3, 4.22.4, Fig. 3, 28, 29.

(ee).     In the clerk of the court men´s toilet room on the first floor, there is less than the required clear floor turning space of 60 inches diameter or a T-shaped space, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the toilet flush control valve is mounted on the narrow side of the toilet area, and the toilet is centered less than 18 inches from the side wall. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.2.3, 4.16.2, 4.16.4, 4.16.5, 4.22.3, 4.22.4, Fig. 3, 28, 29.

(ff).      In the solicitor´s women´s toilet room on the first floor, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the toilet flush control valve is mounted on the narrow side of the toilet area, the toilet is centered less than 18 inches from the side wall, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirror is mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.2, 4.16.4, 4.16.5, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, 4.22.6, Fig. 28, 29, 31.

(gg).    In the solicitor´s men´s toilet room on the first floor, the rear grab bar is less than 36 inches long, the toilet is centered less than 18 inches from the side wall, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirror is mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.2, 4.16.4, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, 4.22.6, Fig. 28, 29, 31.

(hh).    In the common-use toilet rooms on the second, third, and fourth floors (an example of which is Room Number 217), the rear grab bars are less than 36 inches long, the toilet flush control valves are mounted on the narrow side of the toilet area, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirror s are mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.4, 4.16.5, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, 4.22.6, Fig. 29, 31.

(ii).       In the three third floor jury deliberation rooms, the rear grab bars in each of the men´s and women´s toilet rooms are less than 36 inches long, the toilet flush control valves in each of the men´s and women´s toilet rooms are mounted on the narrow side of the toilet area in three of the six toilet rooms, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirror s in each of the men´s and women´s toilet rooms are mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.4, 4.16.5, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, 4.22.6, Fig. 29, 31.

(jj).      In the two fourth floor jury deliberation rooms, the rear grab bars in each of the men´s and women´s toilet rooms are less than 36 inches long, the toilet flush control valves in each of the men´s and women´s toilet rooms are mounted on the narrow side of the toilet area, and the bottom edge of the reflective surface of the mirrors in each of the men´s and women´s toilet rooms are mounted higher than 40 inches above the finished floor. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.4, 4.16.5, 4.19.6, 4.22.4, 4.22.6, Fig. 29, 31.

(kk).    Each of the three prisoner staging area unisex toilet rooms has less than the required clear floor turning space of 60 inches diameter or a T-shaped space, lacks side and rear grab bars, a 30" x 48" clear floor space in front of the lavatory for a forward approach, clear floor space at the toilet, 27 inches clear knee space at the lavatory, controls and operating mechanisms that are operable with one hand and do not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist, and a water closet height between 17-19 inches measured to the top of the toilet seat. ADA Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.2.3, 4.16, 4.19, 4.22, Figs. 3, 28, 29, 31, 32.

(ll).       Each of the four unisex toilet rooms in the judges´ chambers on the second and third floors must be adaptable. ADA Standards § 4.1.3(11).

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

7. During the term of this Agreement, the County shall provide a report annually to the United States, on the anniversary of the effective date of this Agreement, regarding the County’s progress with respect to the completion of its responsibilities pursuant to Paragraph 6 of this Agreement. The County shall provide the United States with written documentation evidencing its completion of all corrective actions required by Paragraph 6, in sufficient detail for the United States to confirm independently that all work has been done in conformance with the parties§ agreement. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, color photographs, purchase orders, permits, and/or architectural drawings, if necessary. The report shall also identify and document any ADA-related policies and procedures that the County adopted.

8. 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 has been violated, the United States will so notify the County in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the United States is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within 30 days of the date it provides notice to the County, it may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement or it may initiate appropriate steps to enforce title II of the ADA.

9. For purposes of the immediately preceding paragraph, it is a violation of this Agreement for the County 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 this Agreement.

10. 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.

11. A copy of this document or any information contained in it will be made available to any person by the County or the Department on request.

12. This Agreement constitutes 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. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal law.

13. This Agreement does not affect the County´s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

14. This Agreement will remain in effect for three years.

15. The person signing this document for the County represents that he or she is authorized to bind the County to this Agreement.

16. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.

 

FOR THE UNITED STATES:

WILLIAM N. NETTLES
United States Attorney
District of South Carolina

By:___________________________
Frances C. Trapp
Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina
1441 Main Street, Ste. 500
Columbia, South Carolina 29201

FOR RESPONDENT

Oconee County, South Carolina

A political subdivision of South Carolina

Pursuant to approval of Oconee County Council given by voice vote on June 1, 2010.

By:_______________________________

T. Scott Moulder

Oconee County Administrator

Date:July 22, 2010

 

FIRST ADDENDUM

TO

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

BETWEEN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AND

OCONEE COUNTY, SOUTH CAROLINA,

UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NO. 204-67-120



This First Addendum is a part of the above referenced Settlement Agreement (the “Agreement”) as if fully set forth therein.  The parties to the Agreement agree that the standard or criteria for the remedial work to be undertaken by Oconee County pursuant to the Settlement Agreement shall be 28 C.F.R. Part 36, revised as of July 1, 1994.  This shall continue to be the standard or criteria even though there may be further revisions to 28 C.F.R. Part 36 and even if 28 C.F.R. Part 36, revised as of July 1, 1994, is totally replaced by some other standard under Title II of the American With Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12131-12134 and/or the implementing regulations under 28 C.F.R.

Except for this added language, the Agreement is hereby republished in its entirety and is otherwise unaffected by this First Addendum.


FOR THE UNITED STATES:

WILLIAM N. NETTLES
United States Attorney
District of South Carolina

By:___________________________
Frances C. Trapp
Assistant United States Attorney
United States Attorney’s Office
District of South Carolina
1441 Main Street, Ste. 500
Columbia, South Carolina 29201

FOR RESPONDENT

Oconee County, South Carolina

A political subdivision of South Carolina

Pursuant to approval of Oconee County Council given by voice vote on June 1, 2010.

By:_______________________________

T. Scott Moulder

Oconee County Administrator

Date:July 22, 2010