SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1990

BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

AND

SKYWAY GROUP, INC., d/b/a ARIZONA SHUTTLE SERVICE,

TUCSON, ARIZONA

DJ 202-8-36

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I. Background

1. The parties to this Settlement Agreement ("Agreement") are the United States of America and Skyway Group, Inc., d/b/a Arizona Shuttle Service.

2. This matter was initiated by a complaint, dated March 26, 1997, filed with the United States Department of Justice ("the Department"), against Arizona Shuttle Service ("Arizona Shuttle" or "the Company"), in Tucson, Arizona. The complaint was investigated by the Department under the authority granted by section 308(b) of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12188. The Complainant, Deborah Stevic ("Stevic"), stated that she has a mobility impairment and uses a wheelchair and a service animal. She alleges that on or about September 10, 1996, her mother contacted Arizona Shuttle to arrange transportation for Stevic from Phoenix International Airport to Tucson. Stevic's mother alleges that she was informed by Arizona Shuttle that Stevic's service animal could not accompany Stevic on the van because it was not a "seeing eye dog." On or about September 20, 1996, Stevic contacted Arizona Shuttle herself and alleges that she was told that the Company's vans were not equipped with wheelchair lifts and Stevic's service animal would not be transported on the Company's vans. Stevic further alleges that Arizona Shuttle informed Stevic that the Company would not transport her with her service animal to Tucson.

3. Arizona Shuttle alleges that it believed at the time that it was only required to transport "seeing eye" dogs.

4. By letter dated June 21, 1997, the Department received another complaint against Arizona Shuttle. This complaint was investigated by the Department under the authority granted by section 308(b) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12188. The Complainants, Pamela Whitaker-Lee ("Whitaker-Lee") and Arizona Bridge to Independent Living ("ABIL"), allege that Arizona Shuttle denied Whitaker-Lee's request for transportation on or about November 24, 1996 on the basis of Whitaker-Lee's disability, and that Arizona Shuttle operates a fixed-route transportation service for the public that is inaccessible to people with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs or scooters. ABIL further alleges that Arizona Shuttle has purchased new vehicles that are inaccessible to people with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs or scooters.

5. The parties enter into this settlement agreement in order to resolve current litigation and to avoid additional litigation and hereby agree as follows:

 

II. Title III Coverage and Findings

6. Arizona Shuttle is a fixed route transportation service that is engaged in the business of transporting people and whose operations affect commerce. 42 U.S.C. § 12184(a), and its implementing regulations, 49 C.F.R. § 37.5(f). Arizona Shuttle is a public accommodation that owns, leases, leases to, or operates a terminal, depot, or other station used for specified public transportation. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181(7) and 12181(10), and its implementing regulation, 29 C.F.R. § 36.104.

7. The ADA requires that public accommodations make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures, to permit the use of a service animal by people with disabilities. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii), and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(c).

8. On or about September 20, 1996, Arizona Shuttle had a policy allowing only "seeing eye dogs" on its vans. It is the contention of the Department and of Stevic that people with disabilities accompanied by other service animals were denied the services of Arizona Shuttle in violation of the ADA.

9. The Complainants, Deborah Stevic and Pamela Whitaker-Lee, are individuals with a disability, as defined by section 3(2)(A) of the ADA and section 36.104 of the title III regulation. 42 U.S.C. § 12102, 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.

10. The Complainant, ABIL, a nonprofit corporation, is a private entity that provides services to people with disabilities. A majority of staff and board members of ABIL, and its clients, are people with disabilities, as defined by section 3(2)(A) of the ADA and section 36.104 of the title III regulation. 42 U.S.C. § 12102, 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.

11. The ADA requires that after August 25, 1990, if private entities that are primarily engaged in the business of transporting people by a fixed route system and whose operations affect commerce, purchase or lease new vehicles (other than an automobile, a van with a seating capacity of less than 8 passengers, including the driver, or an over-the-road bus) these vehicles must be readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs. 42 U.S.C. § 12184(b)(3); 49 C.F.R. § 37.103.

12. In or about May 1996, Arizona Shuttle purchased new a 29-passenger van for use in its transportation business. This van is not wheelchair accessible. 49 C.F.R. § 37.103.

13. In or about July 1996, Arizona Shuttle purchased new a second 29-passenger van for use in its transportation business. This second van also is not wheelchair accessible. 49 C.F.R. § 37.103.

 

III. Actions to be Taken by Arizona Shuttle

14. Arizona Shuttle agrees to take the following actions within 45 days of the date of this Agreement:

a. Arizona Shuttle shall post in a prominent location in its public areas a written policy statement indicating that all persons with disabilities, including those accompanied by service animals, including but not limited to "seeing eye" dogs, are welcome on the Company's buses and vans, and in all company owned or leased terminals, depots, or offices. This written policy is attached as Appendix A.

b. Arizona Shuttle shall train all present and future staff to ensure that all people with disabilities, including those with service animals, are treated in a nondiscriminatory manner and are afforded the same service and courtesy as that afforded any customer.

c. Arizona Shuttle shall post, and train all employees in, a reservation policy that ensures full and equal enjoyment of its services by all customers, including customers with disabilities. This reservation policy is attached as Appendix B.

15. Arizona Shuttle has, just prior to entering into this Agreement and in lieu of modifying any of its existing buses or vans, purchased two 15-passenger vans that are accessible to people with disabilities, including people who use wheelchairs.

16. Arizona Shuttle shall maintain all of its accessible vans in good working order. Arizona Shuttle's employees shall be regularly trained in the use of those features as specified in the company's reservation policy required by paragraph 14(c). Arizona Shuttle shall maintain records of all dates that each accessible van or any of its accessible features are out of service. Arizona Shuttle shall provide these records to counsel for the United States upon request.

17. Arizona Shuttle shall maintain written records of all requests and reservations for accessible vans. Such records shall include the person's name; point of pick-up; date and time of reservation or request; and any other identifying information, such as the customer's address and/or telephone number, that the Company normally requires of its customers. Arizona Shuttle shall provide these records to counsel for the United States every three months for the duration of this Agreement beginning three months from the effective date of this Agreement, and at any other time upon request.

18. Arizona Shuttle shall pay to Deborah Stevic the sum of $10,000 in three equal payments, by certified check. The first payment shall be made no later than six months from the effective date of this Agreement. The second payment shall be made no later than one year from the effective date of this Agreement. The third and final payment to Ms. Stevic shall be made no later than eighteen months from the effective date of this Agreement. Each check shall be made payable to Deborah Stevic. A copy of each check and transmittal letter shall be sent to counsel for the United States within ten (10) days of payment.

19. Arizona Shuttle shall pay to Pamela Whitaker-Lee and ABIL each the sum of $2,500 in three equal payments, by certified check. The first payments shall be made no later than six months from the effective date of this Agreement. The second payments shall be made no later than one year from the effective date of this Agreement. The third and final payments to Ms. Whitaker-Lee and ABIL shall be made no later than eighteen months from the effective date of this Agreement. Checks shall be made payable, separately, to Pamela Whitaker-Lee and ABIL. A copy of each check and transmittal letter shall be sent to counsel for the United States within ten (10) days of payment.

20. Arizona Shuttle shall pay to the United States the sum of $5,000 in civil penalties by certified check payable to the United States Treasury no later than eighteen months from the effective date of this Agreement.

21. Arizona Shuttle shall pay attorney's fees to counsel for Deborah Stevic and counsel for Pamela Whitaker-Lee and ABIL as agreed to by those parties. These fees are separate and apart from the money Arizona Shuttle is required to pay as specified in paragraphs 18, 19, and 20 above.

 

IV. Implementation

22. Under section 308(b)(1)(B) of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(B), the Attorney General is authorized to 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. In consideration of the Agreement as set forth above, the Attorney General agrees to refrain from undertaking further investigation or from filing a civil suit under title III based on the facts set forth in paragraphs 1 through 4, 8, and 12 through 13.

23. The Department may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. Any violation of this Agreement shall be considered a violation of the ADA. If the Department believes that this Agreement or provisions thereof have been violated, it may institute a civil action in the federal district court for Arizona, or any other appropriate federal district court. For any alleged violations of this Agreement for which the Department institutes a civil action, the Department may seek civil penalties not exceeding $50,000 for the first alleged violation of this Agreement and not exceeding $100,000 for each subsequent violation.

24. This Agreement is a public document. Arizona Shuttle shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person upon request.

25. This Agreement is a compromise and settlement of disputed claims and shall not be deemed or construed in any manner as liability or wrongdoing on the part of Arizona Shuttle.

26. This Agreement shall become effective as of the date of the last signature below. The Agreement shall be binding on Arizona Shuttle and its successors in interest. The owners and operators of Arizona Shuttle have a duty to so notify all such successors in interest. This Agreement shall terminate three (3) years from its effective date.

27. 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 is limited to the facts as set forth in paragraphs 1 through 4, 8, and 12 through 13 and it does not purport to remedy any other potential violations of the ADA or any other federal, state or local law. This Agreement does not affect Arizona Shuttle's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of the ADA.

28. A signatory to this Agreement in a representative capacity for a partnership, corporation, or other such entity represents that he or she is authorized to bind such partnership, corporation, or other entity to this Agreement.

 

FOR THE UNITED STATES:

Isabelle Katz Pinzler
Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights

 

 

By: ______________________________ Date: ________________________

John L. Wodatch, Chief
L. Irene Bowen, Deputy Chief
Phyllis M. Cohen, Trial Attorney
Disability Rights Section

Civil Rights Division
U.S. Department of Justice
P.O. Box 66738
Washington, D.C. 20035-6738

(202) 514-3882

 

Michael A. Johns
United States Attorney
District of Arizona

 

 

By: ______________________________ Date: ________________________

Ronald R. Gallegos
Assistant United States Attorney
District of Arizona
4000 U.S. Courthouse
230 North First Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona 85025

(602) 514-7500

 

 

FOR SKYWAY GROUP, INC., d/b/a ARIZONA SHUTTLE SERVICE:

 

 

By: ______________________________ Date: ________________________

Ismail Zahlan,
Azzam Taleb, Owners

Arizona Shuttle Service
5350 East Speedway Boulevard
Tucson, Arizona 85712

(520) 795-6771

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

 

I acknowledge by my signature below that the above Settlement Agreement between the United States and Arizona Shuttle resolves any claims I may have had arising out of the facts described in paragraphs 2 through 4, 8, and 12 through 13 above, except claims for attorney's fees specified in paragraph 21 to be paid as set forth in separate agreements.

 

 

By: ______________________________ Date: ________________________

Deborah Stevic
116B Mason Street
Ft. Huachuca, Arizona 85613

 

 

By: ______________________________ Date: ________________________

Pamela K. Whitaker-Lee
4744 North 58th Drive
Phoenix, Arizona 85031

 

 

By: ______________________________ Date: ________________________

Philip L. Pangrazio
Arizona Bridge to Independent Living
1229 E. Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85034

 

 

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APPENDIX A

ARIZONA SHUTTLE SERVICE

SERVICE ANIMAL POLICY

 

Service animals are welcome on board any Arizona Shuttle Service bus or van and in any of the Company's facilities that are open to its customers. A service animal is any guide dog, signal dog, or other animal individually trained to provide assistance to an individual with a disability. Service animals perform some of the functions and tasks that the individual with a disability cannot perform for him or herself. No additional fee or deposit may be charged to transport service animals.

Arizona Shuttle Service shall not require its customers with service animals to provide proof that the service animal is licensed or certified as a service animal. If Arizona Shuttle Service is uncertain if an animal is a service animal, the Company may ask a customer if an animal is required because of a disability, if it has been trained to perform services, and the nature of the services. No other inquiry into the service animal or the customer's disability is permitted.

Arizona Shuttle Service is not responsible for the care or supervision of a service animal. Arizona Shuttle Service may exclude any service animal that displays vicious behavior towards other customers, or otherwise poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. However, Arizona Shuttle shall not make assumptions about how a particular animal is likely to behave; each situation must be considered individually.

 

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APPENDIX B

RESERVATION POLICY

 

1. All individuals, with or without disabilities, shall be subject to the same reservation policy. The Company's reservation policy is readily available to the general public and posted in conspicuous places at all Company locations open to the public.

2. Under no circumstances shall an individual with a disability be treated in a discriminatory manner in the provision of any services offered to the public by the Company.

3. All customers are requested to make reservations at least 24 hours in advance. Reservations made at least 24 hours in advance for a specific pick-up time are guaranteed for that time. The Company does accept walk-in passengers without advance reservations, to the extent space is available on its buses and vans. Customers requiring the use of accessible vans are also requested to make reservations at least 24 hours in advance and to specify the need for an accessible van and such reservations are guaranteed for that time. Requests for accessible transportation without at least 24 hours advance reservations will be guaranteed within 90 minutes of the request for accessible transport.

4. All potential customers and travel agents inquiring into transportation services with the Company, whether by telephone or in writing, shall be informed of the existence of accessible vans. All advertisements, including any Company information that is or may be available through the Internet, shall indicate the availability of accessible vans.

5. All Company drivers will be trained regularly in the proper use of lifts, tie-downs and other specialized equipment on the Company's accessible vans, and will be proficient in their use.

6. The Company will conduct regular inspection and maintenance of the specialized equipment on its accessible vans, and regular inspection and maintenance of the vehicles in general to ensure that its accessible vans are fully operational to meet the demands of its customers.

7. All Company reservation agents and other personnel who assist customers will be trained in the Company's reservation policy.

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February 7, 2001