Settlement Agreement Between

The United States of America

and

Mr. Amrut Patel, as Owner/Operator of the Super 8 Motel and the Comfort Inn Motel
in Annapolis, Maryland

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

DJ 202-35-89




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 (the Department) against Mr. Amrut Patel, as the owner and operator of the Super 8 Motel. The complainant alleged that the route to the guest room designated for persons with disabilities required him and his wife, who has a mobility impairment, to go up and down steps to reach the room. Mr. Patel responded that if the complainant had raised the issue with Super 8 Motel staff, the complainant and his wife would have been referred to the adjacent Comfort Inn Motel, which is also owned and operated by Mr. Patel and, being newer, is more accessible to persons with disabilities. The Department expanded its investigation to ensure that to the extent that doing so was readily achievable, Mr. Patel had removed barriers at both facilities (jointly referred to herein as “the Motels”).

2. The Attorney General is authorized to enforce title III of the ADA by seeking the modification of facilities to make such facilities readily accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(a)(2). In addition, the Attorney General may commence a civil action to enforce title III in any situation where the Attorney General believes a pattern or practice of discrimination exists or a matter of general public importance is raised. Id. at §12188(b)(1)(B).

3. The Super 8 Motel and the Comfort Inn Motel are places of lodging, providing a total of 39 and 60 separate guest rooms, respectively and, as such, are places of public accommodation under title III of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. §12181(7)(A). Both Motels were constructed prior to the effective date of title III of the ADA and, except for barrier removal to comply with the ADA, have not been altered since.

4. Mr. Amrut Patel is the owner and operator and sole proprietor of both Motels. As such, he is a public accommodation covered by title III. 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.

5. Mr. Patel agrees to undertake barrier removal, as outlined in this Agreement, to ensure that individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs, have an opportunity equal to that of non-disabled individuals to enjoy the Motels’ accommodations. Additionally, Mr. Patel agrees that the actions required of him pursuant this Agreement are readily achievable within the meaning of title III. In light of this agreement, the parties have determined that this investigation can be resolved without litigation and have prepared and agreed to the terms set forth herein.

6. The Parties agree that the technical requirement and, where appropriate the scoping requirements of the Standards used as a guide for determining the requirements for these facilities. All references, below, are to the Standards.


ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN AT THE ANNAPOLIS COMFORT INN

7. Parking. The parking lot has 68 spaces; there are three parking spaces designated for people with disabilities, but they do not have access aisles or appropriate signs. Within 3 months of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will provide two “standard” accessible parking spaces with 60-inch wide access aisles and signage including the International Symbol of Accessibility designating each space as reserved for persons with disabilities in a location that cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space. These spaces may share an access aisle. Also within 3 months of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will provide a third accessible parking space which is “van-accessible,” that is, a space that is 96 inches wide with a 96 inch wide access aisle and a sign designating the space as “van accessible” mounted below the International Symbol of Accessibility in a location that cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space. All three spaces will be located on the shortest accessible route to the facility’s entrance. §§ 4.1.2(5), 4.6.2, 4.6.3 & Fig.9, 4.6.4, 4.30.7.

8. Entrance. There is a set of two doors in a series at the main entrance, creating a vestibule. The space between the doors is less than 48 inches plus the width of the interior door swinging into the vestibule. Within 1 year of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will ensure that the minimum space between the two doors in the series is 48 inches, plus the width of any door swinging into the space, or provide power-assisted doors. § 4.13.7 & Fig. 26.

9. Front Desk. The top of the check-in counter is 48 inches above the finish floor. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will provide a portion of the counter measuring a minimum of 36 inches in length and maximum of 36 inches in height or provide equivalent facilitation (e.g., a sign stating that accessible check-in is available in the lobby seating area). § 7.2.

10. Breakfast Bar. The top of the breakfast bars are 38 inches and 41 inches above the finished floor. Various appliance and dispensers are located beyond the 46-54 inch reach ranges of persons using wheelchairs. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will provide a portion of the counter measuring a minimum of 36 inches in length and maximum of 36 inches in height and will ensure that the highest operable part of controls for the dispensers and appliances within the reach ranges mounted at 48 inches above the floor for front approach, or at 54 inches above the floor for side approach. All such equipment shall have a minimum clear floor space of 30 inches by 48 inches, and shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist, or provide equivalent facilitation (e.g., a sign stating that staff are available to provide assistance to persons using wheelchairs). §§ 4.2.5 & Fig 5(b), 4.2.6 & Fig. 6(c), 4.27.3.

11. Public Unisex Toilet Room Off Lobby. The public toilet room located in the lobby has the inaccessible features listed below. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will take the following actions:

a. The entry door has twist type hardware. Provide controls that are operable with one hand and do not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist, or a force greater than 5 pounds to operate. §§ 4.25.4, 4.27.4.

b. Exposed pipes - The hot water and drain pipes are not insulated or configured to protect against contact. Provide insulation or otherwise configure the hot water and drain pipes to protect against contact §§ 4.22.6, 4.19.4.

c. Lavatory - The lavatory has a twist-type faucet. Provide controls that are operable with one hand and do not require tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrists to operate. §§ 4.19.5, 4.27.4.

d. Grab bar - The rear grab bar behind the toilet is 24 inches long. Provide a rear grab bar that is at least 36 inches long with the end closer to the side wall mounted no more than 6 inches from the side wall. §§ 4.16.4 & Fig.29(a).

12. Guest Rooms Designated for Persons with Disabilities. The Comfort Inn has 3 rooms that are designated for persons with disabilities: rooms 102, 103, and 104. Each of these rooms contains the barriers listed below, unless otherwise noted. Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will remove the following barriers:

a. Signage - The permanent room identification sign is mounted 51 inches above the finish floor. Provide a sign with raised and Brailled characters on the wall adjacent to the latch side of the door so that the centerline of the sign is 60 inches above the finished floor and a person may approach to within 3 inches of the signage without encountering protruding objects or standing within the swing of the door. Provide a sign using the International Symbol of Accessibility. §§ 4.1.3(16)(a), 4.30.1, 4.30.4, 4.30.5, 4.30.6, 4.30.7.

b. Entry Door - The pressure required to open the room entry door is 12 pounds. Provide a door closer such that the force required to open the door is no more than 5 pounds. §§ 4.22.2, 4.13.11(2)(b).

c. Clothes Rod - The clothes rod in the closet is 69 inches above the finish floor. Provide at least one clothes rod that is within the reach of 48 inches for a front approach or 54 inches for a side approach above the finished for a person using a wheelchair. §§ 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.25 & Fig. 38, 9.2.2(4), 4.27.3.

d. Iron - The iron is mounted at 57 inches above the finish floor. Provide fixed or built in storage in the guest room that has clear floor space of 30 inches by 48 inches and is within the reach of 48 inches for a front approach or 54 inches for a side approach above the finished floor for a person using a wheelchair. §§ 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.25 & Fig. 38, 9.2.2(4), 4.27.3.

e. Writing Desk - The table apron is 26 1/2 inches above the finish floor. Provide a writing surface that can be used by persons who use wheelchairs. §§ 4.32.3, 4.32.4.

f. Clear Floor Space - Within the sleeping quarters and bathroom, provide clear floor space at fixtures, an accessible route to fixtures and controls, and an unobstructed turning space. §§ 4.2.3, 4.23.3, 9.2.2(6)(e).

g. Visual Alarm - Provide a visual fire alarm visible in all areas of the room (including the bathroom such that the alarm can be seen when the bathroom door is closed), or provide sufficient electrical outlets and portable alarms such that the portable alarms are triggered by a signal from the building emergency alarm system. §§ 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.28.4, 9.2.2(8), 9.3.1, 9.3.2

h. Bathroom Door - The bathroom entry door has twist hardware. Provide controls that are operable with one hand and do not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist, or a force greater than 5 pounds to operate. §§ 4.1.3(12), 4.25.4, 4.27.4.

i. Towel Rack and Shelf - The bathroom towel rack and towel shelf are 54-58 1/2 inches above the finish floor and mounted above the toilet. Provide at least one of each type that has clear floor space of 30 inches by 48 inches and is within the reach of 48 inches for a front approach or 54 inches for a side approach above the finished floor for a person using a wheelchair. §§ 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.25 & Fig. 38, 9.2.2(4), 4.27.3.

j. Hair Dryer - The hair dryer is mounted 60 inches above the finish floor. Provide a hair dryer that is within the reach ranges of a person who uses a wheelchair of 48 inches for a front approach or 54 inches for a side approach above the finished floor for a person using a wheelchair. §§ 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.25 & Fig. 38, 9.2.2(4), 4.27.3.

k. Toilet - The toilet has many elements that do not comply with the Standards. Provide a toilet so that the centerline is exactly 18 inches from a side wall, the top of the toilet seat is between 17 and 19 inches above the finished floor, and the flush control is on the open side of the room. §§ 4.16.2, 4.16.3, 4.16.5 & Fig. 28, 4.23.4, 9.2.2(6)(e).

l. Toilet Grab Bars - The grab bars at the toilet are missing or inadequate. Provide a rear grab bar that is at least 36 inches long with the end closer to the side wall mounted no more than 6 inches from the side wall. Also provide a 42-inch long side grab bar mounted 12 inches from the rear wall. Both grab bars shall be mounted between 33 and 36 inches above the finished floor and 11/2 inches from the walls on which they are mounted. §§ 4.22.4, 4.16.2, 4.16.3 & Fig. 28, 4.16.4 Fig 29, 4.17.6 & Fig.30(a), 4.22.4, 4.22.6, 4.19.2 & Fig 31, Fig. 29(b).

m. Toilet Paper Dispenser - The toilet paper dispenser is located in the lavatory counter at some distance diagonally in front of the toilet. Provide a dispenser on the side wall under the grab bar that is no more than 36 inches from the back wall and no less than 19 inches from the finished floor to the centerline of the dispenser. §§ 4.22.4, 4.17.3 & Fig.30(d).

n. Lavatory - The lavatory has many elements that do not comply with the Standards. Provide a lavatory that has a rim not higher than 34 inches above the finished floor; an apron that is at least 29 inches above the finish floor; toe and knee clearances that comply with the Standards; faucets that are operable with one hand and do not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist; and hot water and drain pipes that are wrapped or otherwise configured against contact. §§ 4.19 & Fig. 31, 4.23.6, 4.27.4, 9.2.2(6)(e).

o. Mirror - The mirror is too high. Provide a mirror so that the bottom edge of the reflecting surface of the mirror is no higher than 40 inches above the finish floor. §§ 4.19.6, 4.23.6, 9.2.2(6)(e).

p. Other Items - Other dispensers, receptacles, or other equipment in the bathroom do not comply with the Standards. Provide dispensers, receptacles or other equipment, ensure that at least one of each type is within the reach ranges mounted at 48 inches above the floor for front approach, or at 54 inches above the floor for side approach. All such equipment shall have a minimum clear floor space of 30 inches by 48 inches, and shall be operable with one hand and shall not require tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. §§ 4.2.5, 4.2.6, 4.23.7, 4.27, 9.2.2(6)(e).

13. Bathing Choices in Guest Rooms Designated for Persons with Disabilities. Within 1 year of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will ensure that two of the guest rooms designed for persons with disabilities will have transfer bathtubs or transfer showers complying with the Standards and the other guest room designated for persons with disabilities will be equipped with a roll-in shower complying with the Standards. §§ 4.2.3, 4.20 & Figs. 33, 34, 4.23.8, 9.2.2(6)(e), 9.1.2, 9.2, 4.21, & Figs. 57(a)or(b).


ACTIONS TO BE TAKEN AT THE ANNAPOLIS SUPER 8 MOTEL

14. Parking. The parking lot has 39 spaces; there is no parking space designated as reserved for persons with disabilities. Within 3 months of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will provide two accessible parking spaces, one of which is “van-accessible,” that is, a space that is 96 inches wide with a 96 inch wide access aisle and a sign designating the space as “van accessible” mounted below the International Symbol of Accessibility in a location that cannot be obscured by a vehicle parked in the space. The other designated parking space will be the same, except that it may have an access aisle that is 60 inches wide (or the two may share an access aisle). These spaces will be located on the shortest accessible route to the facility’s entrance. §§ 4.1.2(5), 4.6.2, 4.6.3 & Fig.9, 4.6.4, 4.30.7.

15. Lobby Entrance. The threshold to the main entrance door is 1 - 1/4 inches. Within three months of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will provide a threshold that is not higher than 1/2 inch and beveled with a slope no greater than 1:2. § 4.13.8.

16. Guest Room Designated for Persons with Disabilities. The Super 8 Motel has 39 guest rooms, none of which is accessible to persons with disabilities. Within one year of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will provide at least one guest room that complies fully with the Standards. § 9.1, 9.1.2, 9.1.5, 9.2.1.

17. Accessible Route to the Guest Room Designated for Persons with Disabilities. There is no accessible route from the lobby or guest parking to the guest room designated for persons with disabilities. Within six months of the effective date of this agreement, Mr. Patel will provide an accessible route to this room that complies fully with the Standards. If the accessible route contains a ramp, Mr. Patel will ensure that the ramp is no steeper than 1:12; has adequate handrails and edge protection; a level landing and the top and bottom of the ramp; and a firm, stable, and slip-resistant surface, among other requirements. §§ 4.3, 4.8.1, 9.2.2.


OTHER ACTIONS

18. Within fourteen months of the effective date of this Agreement, Mr. Patel will submit a report to the Department summarizing the actions taken pursuant to this Agreement. The report will consist primarily of detailed photographs of the architectural modifications required by this Agreement and clearly show the dimensions of the various elements and spaces so that compliance with the ADA Standards may be determined.


ENFORCEMENT

19. The Department of Justice may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the Department believes that this Agreement or any of its requirement has been violated, it may institute a civil action in federal district court to enforce this Agreement or the requirements of the title III, following written notice to Mr. Patel of possible violations and a period of 10 days in which he has an opportunity to remedy the alleged violations.

20. 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.

21. This Agreement shall be binding on Mr. Patel and his successors in interest. Mr. Patel has a duty to notify all such successors in interest of this Agreement and the duties and responsibilities it imposes on him or her.


IMPLEMENTATION


22. This Agreement is a public document. A copy of this document or any information contained in it shall be made available upon request to any person by Mr. Patel, persons working or acting on his behalf, or the Department.

23. 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 under its provisions.

24. 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.

25. This Agreement does not affect Mr. Patel’s continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of title III of the ADA. In particular, the title III obligation to remove barriers to access for people with disabilities where that is readily achievable is a continuing obligation. It must be continuously re-visited, particularly where the financial resources available to a public accommodation may improve over time.

26. This Agreement will remain in effect for two years from the effective date of this Agreement or until the parties agree that full compliance with this Agreement by Mr. Patel has been achieved.

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



FOR THE RESPONDENT: FOR THE UNITED STATES:







By:__________________________
AMRUT PATEL, Owner
Annapolis Super 8 Motel and the Annapolis Comfort Inn Motel
74 Old Mill Bottom Road North
Annapolis, MD 21401







Date       8/12/03      



J. MICHAEL WIGGINS,
Acting Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division.


By:__________________________
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
MARY LOU MOBLEY, Acting Deputy Chief
JOSH MENDELSOHN, Supervising Attorney
DANA L. JACKSON, Investigator
U.S Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Disability Rights Section-NYA
Washington , DC 20530


Date       8/13/03    




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February 2, 2004