SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 AND

OKLAHOMA COUNTY, OKLAHOMA

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 204-60-22

Settlement Agreement | Department of Justice Press Releases

BACKGROUND

This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, with the United States Department of Justice ("Department of Justice") against Oklahoma County, Oklahoma ("County"). The complaint was received by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, under the authority of 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F. The complainant alleges that the programs, services and activities offered in the Oklahoma County Courthouse are not accessible to persons with mobility impairments.

The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate fully the allegations of the complainants in this matter to determine the compliance of the County with title II of the ADA and the Department's implementing title II regulation, 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 Department fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement as set forth below, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing civil suit in this matter.

The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America and Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. In order to avoid the burdens and expenses of an investigation and possible litigation, the parties hereby agree as follows:

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 County owns and operates the Oklahoma County Courthouse ("Courthouse") and County Courthouse Office Annex ("Courthouse Annex") facilities in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

3. Under title II of the ADA, discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability, in the services, programs, or activities of the County is prohibited. 42 U.S.C. § 12132.

4. Under title II of the ADA, each service, program, or activity that is provided by the County, when viewed in its entirety, must be readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. 28 C.F.R. § 35.150(a).

5. The subject matter of this Agreement is the implementation of a plan to ensure that County services, programs, and activities that are offered in the Courthouse and Courthouse Annex facilities are readily accessible to and usable by persons using wheelchairs.

 

REMEDIAL ACTION

6. In order to ensure that court proceedings held in the Courthouse are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with mobility disabilities, the County will, within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, adopt and implement the attached policy (Appendix A) entitled, "Policy on Accessibility of Proceedings Held in the Oklahoma County Courthouse."

7. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the County will distribute a copy of the procedures set forth in Appendix A of this Agreement to all of its employees who work in the Courthouse.

8. In order to inform members of the public of the provisions of title II and their applicability to the County's programs, services and activities offered in the Courthouse, the County will publish, within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the following notice, on two separate occasions on the County's Internet site and in a newspaper of general circulation serving Oklahoma County, Oklahoma:

In accordance with the requirements of title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Oklahoma County ("County") will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in the County's services, programs, or activities. The County will provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services, including qualified sign language interpreters, whenever necessary to ensure effective communication with members of the public who are deaf and hard of hearing. A person who requires an accommodation or an auxiliary aid or service to participate in a County program, service, or activity, should contact the County ADA Coordinator at (405) ###-#### as far in advance as possible. The County will not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the cost of providing auxiliary aids/services or reasonable modifications of policy.

A person with a disability who requires an accommodation or an auxiliary aid or service such as an assistive listening device or a sign language interpreter, to participate in a court proceeding to be held in the County Courthouse should contact the District Court Clerk's Office for the County at (405) 278-1721 as far in advance as possible, but no later than forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled time of the proceeding. If a party is represented by counsel, it is the responsibility of the attorney to make such request on behalf of his/her client and/or witness. The County will not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the cost of providing auxiliary aids/services or reasonable modifications of policy, such as retrieving items from locations that are open to the public but are not accessible to persons who use wheelchairs.

Additionally, the County will post this notice in conspicuous locations in the Courthouse and Courthouse Office Annex within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement.

 

9. The County will provide a copy of the notice in paragraph 8 to any person upon request.

10. Within 30 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the County will designate an employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under title II of the ADA. The name, office address, and telephone number of the ADA coordinator will be made available to all interested persons.

11. Within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the County will complete the following alterations to the Courthouse facility:

a. Public toilet rooms located on the 1st floor of the Courthouse will be altered as follows:

1) In each toilet room, the door closer will be adjusted so that the force required to open the door will be no more than 5 pounds. Standards §§ 4.1.3(7)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.11.

2) In each toilet room, at least one lavatory will be provided that has each of the following features:

i. insulation on hot water and drain pipes beneath the lavatories to prevent contact. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.19.4, 4.22.6.

ii. clearance of at least 29 inches below the bottom of the lavatory apron, where the top surface of the lavatory is no higher than 34 inches above the floor. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.19.2, 4.22.6, figure 31.

3) In each toilet room, a mirror that is mounted so that the bottom edge of the reflecting surface is no more than 40 inches above the floor will be provided at the designated accessible lavatory. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.19.6, 4.22.6.

4) In each toilet room, at least one paper towel dispenser will be mounted so that the advance lever is no higher than 54 inches above the floor. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.22.7, 4.27.3.

5) In the Men's toilet room, at least one urinal will be provided that has an elongated rim that is mounted no more than 17 inches above the floor. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.18.2, 4.22.5.

b. Public toilet rooms located on the 7th floor of the Courthouse will be altered as follows:

1) In each toilet room, the entrance door closer will be adjusted so that the force required to open the door will be no more than 5 pounds. Standards §§ 4.1.3(7)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.11.

2) In each toilet room, the entrance door will be modified so as to provide at least 32 inches of clear width between the face of the door and opposite stop with the door open 90 degrees. Standards §§ 4.1.3(7)(b), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.13.5.

3) In each toilet room, at least one lavatory will be provided that has each of the following features:

i. insulation on hot water and drain pipes beneath the lavatories to prevent contact. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.19.4, 4.22.6.

ii. faucet controls that do not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.19.5, 4.22.6, 4.27.4.

4) In each toilet room, a mirror that is mounted so that the bottom edge of the reflecting surface is no more than 40 inches above the floor will be provided at the designated accessible lavatory. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.19.6, 4.22.6.

5) In each toilet room, at least one paper towel dispenser will be mounted so that the lever is no higher than 54 inches above the floor. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.22.7, 4.27.3.

6) In the Men's toilet room, at least one urinal will be provided that has an elongated rim that is mounted no more than 17 inches above the floor. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.18.2, 4.22.5.

7) In the Women's toilet room, the designated accessible stall will be modified so as to be at least 60 inches wide and 56 inches deep. Standards §§ 4.1.2(6), 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.17.3, 4.22.4, figure 30.

8) In the Women's toilet room, the designated accessible stall will be modified so as to provide a grab bar on:

i. the wall to the rear of the toilet that is at least 36 inches in length and that extends at least 40 inches from the nearest side wall, and

ii. the wall to the side of the toilet that is at least 42 inches in length and that extends at least 54 inches from the rear wall. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.17.6, 4.22.4, figure 30.

9) At the entrance to each toilet room, a sign designating the accessible rest room that has raised and Braille characters and the international symbol of accessibility will be provided in accordance with section 4.30 of the Standards. Standards §§ 4.1.3(16)(a), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.30.1.

c. An accessible entrance into the Courthouse will be provided that meets the requirements of the Standards. 28 C.F.R. § 35.149.

d. At all inaccessible entrances to the Courthouse, signage directing users to the accessible entrance will be provided. 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(b); Standards §§ 4.1.2(7), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.30.1.

e. In the elevator lobbies of the first and seventh floors, directional signage showing the location of the accessible restrooms on those floors that complies with the requirements of section 4.30 of the Standards will be provided. 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(a).

f. At all elevator hoistway entrances, raised and Braille floor designations will be provided on both jambs such that the centerline of the characters is at 60 inches above the finish floor. Standards § 4.10.5.

g. Two (2) courtrooms in the Courthouse will be designated as accessible to persons who use wheelchairs, and will make any structural alterations that are necessary to ensure that the following accessible elements are provided in each designated courtroom:

1) an accessible route that complies with the requirements of section 4.3 of the Standards, that connects:

i. the main courtroom entrance,

ii. spectator seating area,

iii. party seating area,

iv. witness stand,

v. jury box area,

vi. jury deliberation room, and

vii. jury toilet room;

2) wheelchair seating spaces in the spectator seating area that comply with the requirements set forth in sections 4.1.3(19)(a), 4.2.4, and 4.33.3 of the Standards;

3) one toilet room in the jury deliberation room that complies with the requirements set forth in sections 4.16, 4.19, and 4.22 of the Standards;

4) one (1) wheelchair seating space that is integrated to the maximum extent feasible with the seating in the jury box and that complies with the requirements of section 4.2.4 of the Standards; and

5) one (1) witness stand that complies with the requirements of section 4.2.4 of the Standards.

h. In common areas and offices open to the public that have counters at which services are provided, a counter that has either of the following will be provided:

1) a portion that is at least 36 inches in length where the top surface of the counter is a maximum height of 36 inches, or

2) an auxiliary counter with a maximum height of 36 inches in close proximity to the main counter. Standards § 7.2(2).

i. At least one text telephone (TTY/TDD) with appropriate signage complying with section 4.30 of the Standards will be provided where public telephones are available to the general public. 28 C.F.R. § 35.160(b)(1).

j. At the entrance to the law library, the door closer will be adjusted so that the force required to open the door will be no more than 5 pounds. Standards § 4.13.11.

 

12. Within 180 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the County will complete the following alterations to the Courthouse Annex:

a. Public toilet rooms located on the 1st and 4th floors of the Courthouse Annex will be altered as follows:

1) In each toilet room, the hot water and drain pipes beneath each designated accessible lavatory will be insulated to prevent contact. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.19.4, 4.22.6.

2) In each toilet room, at least one seat cover dispenser and one coat hook, if provided in the stall, will be located no higher than 48 inches above the floor. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.22.7, 4.27.3.

3) In each toilet room, the toilets in the designated accessible stalls will be altered so that the toilet seat is between 17 inches and 19 inches above the floor. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.16.6(1)(b), 4.16.3, 4.22.4.

4) In each toilet room, the designated accessible stall will be modified so as to provide a grab bar on:

i. the wall to the rear of the toilet that is at least 36 inches in length and that extends at least 40 inches from the nearest side wall, and

ii. the wall to the side of the toilet that is at least 42 inches in length and that extends at least 54 inches from the rear wall. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.17.6, 4.22.4, figure 30.

5) In the Men's toilet room, at least one urinal will be provided that has an elongated rim that is mounted no more than 17 inches above the floor. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.18.2, 4.22.5.

b. Public toilet rooms located on the 6th floor of the Courthouse Annex will be altered as follows:

1) In each toilet room, the entrance door closer will be adjusted so that the force required to open the door will be no more than 5 pounds. Standards § 4.13.11.

2) In the Women's toilet room, the entrance door will be modified so as to provide at least 32 inches of clear width between the face of the door and opposite stop with the door open 90 degrees. Standards § 4.13.5.

3) In the Men's toilet room, the designated accessible stall door will be modified so as to provide at least 32 inches of clear width between the face of the door and the opposite stop with the door open 90 degrees. Standards §§ 4.13.5, 4.17.5.

4) In each toilet room, the designated accessible stall will be modified so as to be at least 60 inches wide and 56 inches deep. Standards § 4.17.3, figure 30.

5) In each toilet room, the designated accessible stall will be modified so as to provide a grab bar on:

i. the wall to the rear of the toilet that is at least 36 inches in length and that extends at least 40 inches from the nearest side wall, and

ii. the wall to the side of the toilet that is at least 42 inches in length and that extends at least 54 inches from the rear wall. Standards §§ 4.1.3(11), 4.1.6(1)(b), 4.17.6, 4.22.4, figure 30.

6) In each toilet room, at least one seat cover dispenser and one coat hook, if provided the stall, will be located no higher than 48 inches above the floor.

7) In each toilet room, at least on lavatory will be provided that has each of the following features:

i. insulation on hot water and drain pipes beneath the lavatories to prevent contact. Standards § 4.19.4.

ii. faucet controls that do not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist. Standards §§ 4.19.5, 4.27.4.

iii. clearance of at least 29 inches below the bottom of the lavatory apron, where the top surface of the lavatory is no higher than 34 inches above the floor. Standards § 4.19.2.

8) In each toilet room, a mirror will be provided at the designated accessible lavatory that is mounted so that the bottom edge of the reflecting surface is no more than 40 inches above the floor. Standards § 4.19.6.

9) In the Men's toilet room, at least one urinal will be provided that has an elongated rim that is mounted no more than 17 inches above the floor. Standards § 4.18.2.

b. The interior vestibule doors of the designated accessible ground floor entrance to the Courthouse Annex will be adjusted so that the force required to open the door is no greater than 5 pounds. Standards § 4.13.11.

c. In the elevator lobby of the fourth floor, directional signage showing the location of the accessible restroom on that floor that complies with the requirements of section 4.30 of the Standards will be provided. 28 C.F.R. § 35.163(a).

d. In common areas and offices open to the public that have counters at which services are provided, a counter that has either of the following will be provided:

1) a portion that is at least 36 inches in length where the top surface of the counter is a maximum height of 36 inches, or

2) an auxiliary counter with a maximum height of 36 inches in close proximity to the main counter. Standards § 7.2(2).

13. Within 210 days of the effective date of this Agreement, the County will submit a final written report to the Department summarizing the actions the County has taken pursuant to this Agreement. This report will include photographs, architectural plans, notices published in the newspapers, and copies of adopted policies.

 

IMPLEMENTATION AND ENFORCEMENT

14. If at any time the County desires to modify any portion of this Agreement because of changed conditions making performance impossible or impractical or for any other reason, it will promptly notify the Department in writing, setting forth the facts and circumstances thought to justify modification and the substance of the proposed modification. Until there is written Agreement by the Department to the proposed modification, the proposed modification will not take effect.

15. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If it determines that this Agreement or any requirement thereof has been violated, it may institute a civil action seeking specific performance of the provisions of this Agreement in an appropriate Federal court.

16. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with regard to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department's right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.

17. In the event that the County fails to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department as a temporary modification of the relevant terms of this Agreement, all terms of this Agreement shall become enforceable in an appropriate Federal court.

18. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it may be made available to any person by the County or the Department on request.

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

20. 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, shall be enforceable. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law. This Agreement does not affect the County's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

21. This Agreement will remain in effect for two years from the effective date of this Agreement, or until full compliance with this Agreement by the County has been achieved.

 

For the United States:

 

 

BILL LANN LEE
Acting Assistant Attorney General
for Civil Rights

 

By:___________________________

JOHN WODATCH, Chief
L. IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief
NAOMI H. MILTON, Attorney
Disability Rights Section
Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738

Date:_________________________

 

 

For the County:

 

_______________________

 

 

Date:_____________________

 

 

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APPENDIX A

 

POLICY ON ACCESSIBILITY OF PROCEEDINGS

HELD WITHIN THE OKLAHOMA COUNTY COURTHOUSE

 

The County of Oklahoma (County) has adopted the following procedures so that services, programs or activities that are provided in an inaccessible location in the Oklahoma County Courthouse are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with mobility disabilities.

 

COURT PROCEEDINGS

 

PROCEEDING TO BE RELOCATED UPON 48 HOURS NOTICE

If an individual with a mobility impairment chooses or is required to attend a proceeding (i.e., party, juror, attorney, witness, spectator) that is held in an inaccessible location in the Oklahoma County Courthouse, the proceeding will be relocated to an accessible location after a request to relocate the court proceeding is made to the court clerk for the County at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the scheduled commencement of the proceeding. If a party to a proceeding is represented by counsel and either has a need to request relocation of the proceeding, or requires the presence of a person at the proceeding who needs to request relocation, then the attorney for that party is responsible for making such request.

 

ACCESS TO PROCEEDINGS WITH LESS THAN 48 HOURS NOTICE

If a participant (e.g., party, juror, attorney, witness) with a mobility impairment is required to attend a proceeding that is held in an inaccessible location in the Oklahoma County Courthouse, and forty-eight (48) hours notice has not been provided to the court clerk when requesting relocation of a court proceeding to an accessible location, the proceeding will be postponed until such proceeding can be relocated to an accessible location.

 

DUTIES OF THE COURT CLERK

Once a request to relocate a proceeding to an accessible location is received, the court clerk for the County will:

1) contact the judge who will preside over the proceeding to inform him of the request to relocate the proceeding to an accessible courtroom;

2) contact the judge who was scheduled to preside over proceedings in the accessible courtroom so that he or she is informed of the relocation of proceedings;

3) contact parties, jurors, and attorneys who must be present at the proceedings to inform them of the new locations; and

4) post written notice of the new location of the proceedings in conspicuous locations of the Courthouse.

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February 7, 2001