SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

BETWEEN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AND

SHONEY'S, LLC.

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 202-72-58




BACKGROUND

  1. This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189, with the United States Department of Justice (“Department”) against Shoney’s LLC, the owners and operators of the Shoney’s Restaurant (“Restaurant”), located at 2303 Carmack Boulevard, Columbia, Tennessee. The complainants, an individual with a disability and her husband, allege that on May 21, 2005, they were told to leave the Restaurant because they were accompanied by a service animal.
  2. The ADA requires that public accommodations make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of service animals by people with disabilities. 42 U.S.C. §12182(b)(2)(A)(ii); 28 C.F.R. §36.302(c).
  3. Shoney’s, LLC, agrees to modify its policies and practices, as outlined in this Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”), to ensure that individuals who use service animals have an opportunity to use the services provided by the Restaurant that is equal to that of others.

JURISDICTION

  1. The Restaurant is an establishment serving food or drink and, as such, is a place of public accommodation. 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(B); 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. Shoney’s, LLC, owns and operates the Restaurant and, as such, is a public accommodation covered by title III of the ADA. 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.5.    The Attorney General is authorized under section 308 of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §12188, to investigate complaints and bring a civil action under title III in any situation where a pattern or practice of discrimination is believed to exist or where a matter of general public importance is raised.
  2. The parties to the Agreement are the Department and Shoney’s, LLC. In light of this Agreement, the parties have determined that Department of Justice complaint 202-72-58 can be resolved without litigation and have prepared and agreed to the terms of this Settlement Agreement.
  3. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or filing a civil suit in this matter regarding the areas covered under the Remedial Action section of this Agreement, except as provided in the Enforcement and Implementation sections of the Agreement.

REMEDIAL ACTION

  1. As soon as practicable, but in no event more than thirty days (30) from the effective date of the Agreement, Shoney’s, LLC, agrees to do the following:
  2. Shoney’s, LLC, shall post the following notice, in 24 font print or larger, in a conspicuous place in the Restaurant:
  3. “Individuals with disabilities and their service animals are welcome at Shoney’s Restaurants.” (Attached hereto as Exhibit A.)
  4. Shoney’s, LLC, shall adopt and distribute to all its employees at the Restaurant its revised Policy Regarding Service Animals for Customers with Disabilities (attached hereto as Exhibit B). Shoney’s, LLC, shall train the Restaurant’s current employees as to their obligations under the ADA with respect to service animals so as to ensure that persons with disabilities accompanied by service animals have access to its Restaurant equal to persons without disabilities. Furthermore, during the life of the Agreement, employees hired by Shoney’s, LLC, to work at the Restaurant shall be trained and informed of the Restaurant’s service animal policy within 24 hours of hire.
  5. Shoney’s, LLC, within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, shall submit a written report with photographs to the Department outlining its compliance with Paragraph 9, above.

ENFORCEMENT

  1. If at any time Shoney’s, LLC, 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. These actions must receive the prior written approval of the Department, which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld or delayed.
  2. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that Shoney’s, LLC, has failed to comply in a timely manner with any requirement of this Agreement without obtaining sufficient advance written agreement with the Department for a modification of the relevant terms, the Department will so notify Shoney’s, LLC, in writing and it will attempt to resolve the issue or issues in good faith. If the Department is unable to reach a satisfactory resolution of the issue or issues raised within thirty (30) days of the date it provides notice to Shoney’s, LLC, it may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce the terms of this Agreement or title III and may, in such action, seek any relief available under law.
  3. For purposes of the immediately preceding paragraph, it is a violation of this Agreement for Shoney’s, LLC, to fail to comply in a timely manner with any of its requirements without obtaining sufficient advance written Agreement with the Department for an extension of the relevant time frame imposed by the Agreement.
  4. Failure by the Department to enforce this entire Agreement or any of its provisions or deadlines shall not be construed as a waiver of the Department’s right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.
  5. This Agreement shall be binding on Shoney’s, LLC, its agents and employees. In the event Shoney’s, LLC, seeks to transfer or assign all or part of its interest in any facility covered by this Agreement, and the successor or assign intends on carrying on the same or similar use of the facility, as a condition of sale Shoney’s, LLC, shall obtain the written accession of the successor or assign to any obligations remaining under this Agreement for the remaining term of this Agreement.

IMPLEMENTATION

  1. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  2. This Agreement, including Exhibits A and B, 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 under its provisions.
  3. This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth above and does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other Federal law.
  4. This Agreement does not affect Shoney’s, LLC’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of title III of the ADA. In particular, title III imposes an obligation to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, when the modifications are necessary to afford goods, services, and facilities to individuals with disabilities. This obligation must be continuously re-visited, particularly where the financial resources available to a public accommodation may improve over time.
  5. A copy of this document or any information contained in it will be made available to any person by Shoney’s, LLC, or the Department upon request.
  6. This Agreement will remain in effect for two (2) years from the effective date of this Agreement, or until the parties agree that full compliance with the Agreement by Shoney’s, LLC, has been achieved, whichever is later.
  7. The person signing this document for Shoney’s, LLC, represents that he/she is authorized to bind Shoney’s, LLC, to this Agreement.


FOR THE RESPONDENT:

FOR THE UNITED STATES:





___________________________
JULIE BHATTACHARYA PEAK
ORTALE KELLEY HERBERT & CRAWFORD
Third Floor, Noel Place
200 Fourth Avenue North
P.O. Box 198985
Nashville, TN 37219-8985
 
Attorney for Shoney’s, LLC
Date:      12-18-06      



CRAIG S. MORTON
United States Attorney
Middle District of Tennessee
 

BY:                                                            
MICHAEL L. RODEN
Assistant United States Attorney
B.P.R. No. 010595
Suite A-961
110 Ninth Avenue, South
Nashville, TN 37203
Telephone: 615/736-5151

SHONEY,S LLC
BY:                                               
TED HABERMANN
Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Date:      December 15, 2006      

JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
U.S. Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Disability Rights Section - NYA
Washington, DC 20530
Date:      12-18-06      



 

SHONEY'S, INC. CORPORATE POLICY

  1. PURPOSE/POLICY

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the purpose of this policy is to ensure that all individuals with disabilities, including those requiring the use of service animals, are treated in a non-discriminatory manner and are provided the same level of service and courtesy as all other Customers who visit Shoney's, Inc. restaurants.

  1. EMPLOYEES COVERED BY THE POLICY
All Employees of Shoney's, Inc. and its affiliated entities (the "Company")
  1. RESPONSIBILITY FOR ADMINISTRATION

It is the responsibility of all levels of Operations Management and the Human Resources department to administer this policy.

  1. PROCEDURES
  1. Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities. Service animals come in all breeds and sizes, may be trained either by an organization or by an individual with a disability, need not be certified or licensed, and provide a wide range of services that may or may not be identifiable, such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets.
    1. If a Shoney's, Inc. employee is unsure that an animal accompanying an individual with a disability is a service animal, Shoney's, Inc. a Restaurant Manager or General Manager may inquire, as discreetly as possible, of any person or group entering the restaurant accompanied by an animal whether it is a service animal required because of a disabilities.

      When making such inquiries, keep in mind these guidelines:


    EXHIBIT B

    1. Exercise careful and good judgment in determining whether there is any need to question the Customer and only do so when uncertain as to the animal's status as a service animal needed because of a disability; B. Any discussions with a Customer must be conducted by a
    2. Restaurant Manager or General Manager and in such a manner so as to avoid any possible embarrassment to the Customer;
    3. If you are unsure if the animal is a service animal, the Restaurant Manager or General Manager may discreetly ask the Customer if the animal is a service animal, needed for a disability, but do not ask a customer to identify his or her disability;
    4. In addition, do not ask for or demand proof of certification as a service animal;

    1. Restaurant staff Employees should NOT require an individual with a disability to provide proof of a service animal's certification.
    2. A notice shall be posted in all Shoney's, Inc. restaurants stating that individuals with disabilities are welcome, including those requiring the use of a service animal, i.e. seeing eye dog, hearing dog, etc.
    3. Employees should direct any questions or clarification concerning this policy and procedure to the appropriate multi-unit management or the Field Human Resources department.
    4. Businesses that sell or prepare food, such as Shoney's restaurants, must allow service animals in the public areas of their facilities, even if state or local health codes prohibit animals on the premises.



UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT 0F TENNESSEE
COLUMBIA DIVISION

Nancy L. Gilliam and Charles Gilliani

Plaintiffs

v.

Shoney's, LLC, and Terre Neesham,
Individually,

Defendants

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Case No. l:06-cv-0033
Judge Echols
Magistrate Judge Griffin

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ENTRY OF JUDGMENT

Pending before the Court is Plaintiffs' Notice of Acceptance of Offer of Judgment from Defendant Shoney's LLC (Docket Entry No. 17). This Notice of Acceptance is accompanied by a certificate of service and a copy of the offer of judgment as made by Defendant Shoney's LLC and is submitted in compliance with the requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 68.

Accordingly, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 68, judgment is entered against Defendant Shoney's LLC in favor of Plaintiffs Nancy L. Gilliam and Charles Gilliam as follows:

  1. $1000.00 (one-thousand dollars) with costs accrued as of the date of the Offer (July 13, 2006).
  2. Attorneys fees in the amount of $5,518.16
  3. Injunctive relief as specified in the Offer of Judgment in sections A, B & C.

____________________
Keith Throckmorton
Clerk of Court



IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
AT NASHVILLE

 

NANCY L. GILLIAM and husband,
CHARLES GILLIAM,

Plaintiffs,

v.

Shoney'S, LLC and
TERRE NEESHAM, Individually,

Defendants.

Civil Action No. 1-06-0033

Judge Echols
Magistrate Judge Griffin

OFFER OF JUDGMENT

Defendant Shoney's, LLC, by and through counsel and pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 68 and serves upon counsel for Plaintiffs an offer to allow a judgment to be taken against this Defendant, with costs now accrued, in the amount of One Thousand ($1000) Dollars. In addition, Defendant offers to pay Plaintiffs incurred attorney's fees to date in the amount of Five Thousand Five Hundred Eighteen Dollars and Sixteen Cents ($5,518.16). Finally, Defendants agree to the following injunctive relief:

  1. Consistent with the law, the Shoney's, LLC's restaurant located at 2303 Carmack Blvd., Columbia, Tennessee (hereinafter referred to as the "Facility") 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 Facility excluding or providing unequal treatment to persons with disabilities who use service animals.
  2. The Facility shall maintain, and enforce the policy attached hereto and by reference incorporated herein as Exhibit 1 to this Settlement Agreement on the treatment of customers using service animals. Within 15 days of the execution of this agreement, the Facility shall provide a copy of the policy set forth in Exhibit 1 to all employees of the Facility and shall post a copy of the policy in the area of the restaurant used to provide employees standing information on company policy.
  3. Within 60 days of the entry of this Consent Order, the Facility shall also develop a sign, not less than 6" x 9" with a minimum font of 24, stating "Customers with disabilities accompanied by their service animals are welcome" which will also include this message in Braille. Said sign shall be installed on the wall adjacent to the pull side of the entry door of the Facility at a height of 60 inches from the finished floor to the centerline of the sign.

An offer not accepted shall be deemed withdrawn after the expiration of ten (10) days and evidence thereof is not admissible except in a proceeding to determine costs.



Respectfully submitted,

ORTALE, IELLEY, HERBERT & CRAWFORD

BY:/s/ Julie Bhattacharva Peak
Julie Bhattacharya Peak #20644
Attorney for Defendants
200 Fourth Avenue North
P.O. Box 198985
Nashville, TN 37219-8985
(615) 256-9999



CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I hereby certify that a the and exact copy of the foregoing Offer of Judgment has been mailed to:

J. Page Garrett
5 133 Harding Road
Suite 112
Nashville, TN 37205
(877) 624-5 108

This 13 day of July, 2006.

/s/ Julie Bhaiiacharva Peak
Julie Bhattacharya Peak 



       


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February 21, 2006