SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

BETWEEN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AND

OUTAGAMIE COUNTY, WISCONSIN



Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-85-40



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This Settlement Agreement (the "Agreement") is entered into by Outagamie County, Wisconsin (the "County") and the United States of America, through the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section ("the Department").

This matter was initiated by a complaint filed with the Department under title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134. The complaint alleged that the Outagamie County Justice Center (the "Justice Center") is inaccessible to individuals with mobility impairments.

The Department is authorized under 28 C.F.R. Part 35 to investigate this complaint to determine whether Outagamie County has complied with title II of the ADA. The Department is authorized to investigate the facts, issue findings, and, where appropriate, negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. Furthermore, the Department is authorized to bring a civil action enforcing title II of the ADA should it fail to secure a voluntary compliance agreement.

After receiving notice of the complaint, Outagamie County completed a transition plan as required by 28 C.F.R. 35.150(d)(the transition plan is dated July 30, 1996; Part 2 of the transition plan, containing the recommendations for renovations, and Part 4 of the transition plan, containing maps and floor plans, are attached as Exhibit A). The County has completed renovations to the Justice Center that address the specific allegations in Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-85-40: namely, installing equipment that reduced the door opening force on the public entrance and exit doors to the Justice Center and renovating Branch VI to accommodate wheelchair seating by removing a thirty-six inch portion of the front bench designed for seating for observers. The County has also allocated money in its fiscal year 1997 budget to complete additional recommendations in the transition plan. In addition to the two alterations mentioned above, the transition plan includes, among other things, assistive listening systems for the courtrooms; accessible restrooms; and new hardware to ensure that doors are accessible. The Department does not endorse the transition plan, but to avoid the expense and burden of litigation the Department will agree to settle this matter based on the recommendations in the transition plan, along with the modifications specifically noted in this Settlement Agreement.

Because Outagamie County and the United States desire to settle this matter without resort to litigation, the parties agree to the following voluntary compliance agreement:

1. In consideration for Outagamie County's performance of its obligations under this Agreement, the Department agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation of Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-85-40 or from filing a civil suit arising from Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-85-40.

2. Outagamie County agrees to implement all recommendations included in the transition plan except for the following:

(a) With regard to recommendation numbers 25 (page 18), 32 (page 19), 38 (page 20), and 43 (page 21), one space will be designated for a person who uses a wheelchair, rather than two spaces. Outagamie County agrees that if more than one individual who uses a wheelchair chooses to attend a legal proceeding that is held in a courtroom on the second floor other than Branch VII, the County shall relocate the proceeding to Branch VII.

(b) Recommendation numbers 18 and 19 (page 9), 26 (page 10), 15 and 19 (page 17), 22 and 26 (page 18), 29 (page 19), 35 (page 20), 41 (page 21), 46 (page 22), and 52 (page 23) are not required.

(c) With regard to recommendation numbers 3 and 5 (page 31), one of the shower facilities must be provided with grab bars to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities.

(d) With regard to recommendation number 9 (page 32), the shower facility must be provided with grab bars to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities.

(e) With regard to recommendation number 1 (page 33), one of the shower facilities must be provided with grab bars to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities.

(f) With regard to recommendation number 1 (page 34), one of the shower facilities must be provided with grab bars to ensure accessibility for people with disabilities.

(g) With regard to recommendation number 74 (page 30), permanent assistive listening systems shall be installed in each courtroom on the second floor rather than a portable device shared among the courtrooms.

(h) Only the operational change in recommendation number 60 (page 26) is required.

Outagamie County agrees that all renovations will be completed by December 31, 1997.


3. Outagamie County agrees to prepare a self-evaluation report, as required by 28 C.F.R. § 35.105. The County agrees to:

(a) evaluate all services, programs, and activities that take place within the Justice Center, and

(b) determine whether any are not readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, as required by 28 C.F.R. § 35.150.

If the County determines that any service, program, or activity is not accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, it shall identify both an interim and a permanent modification to make the service, program, or activity accessible.

4. In preparing the self-evaluation report, Outagamie County shall provide an opportunity to interested persons, including individuals with disabilities or organizations representing individuals with disabilities, to participate by submitting comments.

5. Outagamie County agrees to submit the self-evaluation report to the Department within 120 days of the date the Department signs this Agreement. The Department agrees to either accept or reject the self-evaluation report. If the Department rejects the self-evaluation report, it shall identify revisions that would make the report acceptable. If Outagamie County does not state, in writing, within thirty days of receiving the Department's revisions, that it accepts the revisions, the Department may re-open the investigation of Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-85-40 with respect to the matters covered by the self-evaluation report and 28 C.F.R. § 35.105.

6. Outagamie County agrees that all interim steps proposed in the self-evaluation report will be implemented within thirty days of receiving the Department's acceptance of the self-evaluation report or within 30 days of the County's acceptance of the Department's revisions. Outagamie County agrees that all permanent steps proposed in the self-evaluation report will be implemented within 180 days of receiving the Department's acceptance of the self-evaluation report.

7. No later than the 180th day after receiving the Department's acceptance of the self-evaluation report, Outagamie County agrees to submit to the Department a final report on compliance with the ADA in the Justice Center, including a specific description of each renovation and confirming the completion of each renovation.

8. If Outagamie County desires to modify any portion of the self-evaluation report or the transition plan because the County contends that changed conditions make performance impossible or impracticable, it shall notify the Department in writing, setting forth the facts and circumstances thought to justify the modification. Outagamie County must also provide a proposed alternative provision. The proposed modification is not effective unless and until the Department approves it in writing.

9. Outagamie County agrees to post a copy of the notice contained in Exhibit B in all places where notices to the public, employees, and job applicants are normally posted. The notice will be posted within ten days from the date that the Department signs this Agreement and will remain posted for one year thereafter.

10. Outagamie County agrees to designate one or more employee(s) as an ADA Compliance Coordinator(s). The ADA Compliance Coordinator(s) will work with people with disabilities who need to use the County's programs and services. Within thirty days of the date the Department signs this Agreement, the County agrees that its ADA Compliance Coordinator(s) will:

(a) attend a seminar concerning a public entity's obligations under title II of the ADA; or

(b) view an educational videotape concerning a public entity's obligations under title II of the ADA. If the entity elects this option, the educational videotape will be specified by the Department and the Department will give the County instructions on how to obtain a copy of the videotape.

11. Outagamie County agrees that the ADA Compliance Coordinator(s) will distribute a copy of the document contained in Exhibit C to all County employees in the Judicial Center.

12. In the event that Outagamie County fails to comply in a timely manner with any provision of this Agreement, or with any provision of the self-evaluation report or the transition plan, without obtaining the Department's advance approval (as provided for in Paragraph 7), the Department may either:

(a) notify Outagamie County that the Settlement Agreement is no longer operative and may re-open the investigation of Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-85-40; or,

(b) institute a civil action seeking to have the terms of this Agreement, the self-evaluation report and the transition plan enforced in the appropriate federal court.

13. Outagamie County agrees that the Department may review compliance with this Agreement, the self-evaluation report or the transition plan at any time.

14. The parties agree that this Agreement is neither an admission by Outagamie County of any violation of the ADA, nor an admission by the Department of the merits of any of Outagamie County's potential defenses.

15. Outagamie County agrees that it will not discriminate or retaliate against any person because of his/her participation in this matter.

16. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this Agreement, along with the self-evaluation report and the transition plan, shall be made available to any person on request.

17. This Agreement does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other law. This Agreement does not affect Outagamie County's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

18. The individuals signing this Agreement represent that they are authorized to bind the parties to this Agreement.

19. Failure by the Department of Justice to enforce the entire Agreement with regard to any deadline or any other provision of the Agreement, shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines or provisions of the Agreement.

20. This Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the parties relating to Department of Justice Complaint No. 204-85-40, 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 Agreement, shall be enforceable.

For Outagamie County: decorative blank spaceFor the United States:





_______________________ ____________________________

JOSEPH P. GUIDOTE decorative blank spaceJOHN L. WODATCH, Chief

Corporation Counsel decorative blank spaceL. IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief

Outagamie County decorative blank spaceDANIEL W. SUTHERLAND, Attorney

410 S. Walnut St. decorative blank spaceDisability Rights Section

Appleton, Wisconsin decorative blank spaceCivil Rights Division

54911 decorative blank spaceU.S. Department of Justice

decorative blank spaceP.O. Box 66118

decorative blank spaceWashington, D.C. 20035-6118

Date ___________________ decorative blank spaceDate ________________________

 

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THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT



WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW


Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), Outagamie County does not discriminate on the basis of disability in admission to, access to, or operations of its programs, services, or activities. Moreover, the County does not discriminate on the basis of disability in its hiring or employment practices.

Here are some specific ways the County is implementing the ADA:

* The County will operate our programs so that they are readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities.

* When a person with a hearing or vision impairment needs an auxiliary aid to make communications effective, the County will give primary consideration to the person's choice of auxiliary aid.

* The County will provide programs and services in an integrated setting, unless separate or different measures are necessary to ensure equal opportunity.

 

Questions, concerns, or requests for additional information regarding the ADA may be forwarded to one of the County's ADA Compliance Coordinators:

Bill Hinckley

ADA Compliance Coordinator-Employment

832-1669

Gary Whipp

ADA Compliance Coordinator-Facilities

832-6360

Mark DeBruin

ADA Compliance Coordinator-Services

832-5178

 

Individuals who need auxiliary aids for effective communication in programs and services are invited to make their needs and preferences known to the ADA Compliance Coordinator.

For further information, call the Department of Justice's ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (voice) or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD).

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