Consent Order | Department of Justice Press Releases




WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General
Civil Rights Division
DEBRA W. YANG
United States Attorney
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
PHILIP L. BREEN, Special Legal Counsel
L. IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief
LEON M. WEIDMAN
Assistant United States Attorney
MICHELE MARCHAND
Assistant United States Attorney
PHYLLIS M. COHEN, Sr. Trial Attorney
Disability Rights Section-NYA
Civil Rights Division
U. S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
Telephone: (202) 514-3882
Facsimile: (202) 307-1198
Counsel for Plaintiff, United States


IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE CENTRAL DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA




UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
Plaintiffs,

v.

ROBIN SINGH EDUCATIONAL SERVICES,INC., d/b/a TESTMASTERS

Defendants.

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Case No.:

CONSENT ORDER
CV06-3466 ABC

Judge:




The United States has filed this action to enforce provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) against Defendant Robin Singh Educational Services, Inc., d/b/a TestMasters (“TestMasters”). The United States has alleged that TestMasters failed to provide auxiliary aids and services to a deaf student. TestMasters denies the United States’ allegations, and nothing in this Consent Order, including the payment of any sums by TestMasters, constitutes an admission by TestMasters of such wrongdoing or liability, or otherwise constitutes an admission of a violation of the ADA. The United States and TestMasters agree that it is in the Parties’ best interests, and the Department believes it is in the public interest, to fully and finally resolve this matter on mutually agreeable terms without resort to protracted litigation. Therefore, the United States and TestMasters present the following consent order and final judgment, resolving the United States’ complaint against TestMasters.

JURISDICTION

1.     The Court has jurisdiction of this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1345, and 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b).

2.     Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181(7)(D) and (J) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104, TestMasters owns, operates, and/or leases places of education and places of public gathering. Places of education and places of public gathering are places of public accommodation within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181(7)(D) and (J) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.

3.     Defendant Robin Singh Educational Services, Inc., d/b/a TestMasters (“TestMasters”), is a corporation with its principal place of business located in Santa Monica, California. TestMasters owns, leases, and/or operates places of education and places of public gathering, in various states throughout the United States.

4.     The United States Department of Justice ("Department" or "DOJ") is the federal agency responsible for enforcing Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§12188.

5.     Pursuant to Title III of the ADA, all places of public accommodation including TestMasters, must furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities. 42 U.S.C. §12182(b)(2)(A)(iii); 28 C.F.R. § 36.303(c).

6.     TestMasters offers courses to prepare for the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), as well as other preparatory courses. Pursuant to Title III of the ADA, private entities that offer courses related to applications for secondary or postsecondary education, such as TestMasters, must offer such courses in a manner accessible to persons with disabilities, including the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids and services for persons who are hearing-impaired. 42 U.S.C. §12189; 28 C.F.R. § 36.309. 7. In 2004, the United States received a complaint from a person with a disability regarding TestMasters’ refusal to provide any auxiliary aids and services for its LSAT preparatory course.

8.     In response to that complaint, and pursuant to the Attorney General’s authority to conduct investigations of covered entities, the United States conducted an investigation into the allegations against TestMasters, under 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(A)(i), to determine whether TestMasters has a pattern or practice of refusing to ensure effective communication, including the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids and services, for its students. The United States concluded that TestMasters does have a pattern or practice of refusing to ensure effective communication for its students, and notified TestMasters by letter dated September 16, 2005, of its findings. The United States also found that TestMasters had excluded the complainant from its LSAT preparatory course after he complained about its failure to provide auxiliary aids and services.

WHEREFORE, the parties hereby agree and stipulate to the Court's entry of this Consent Order and Final Judgment which resolves all issues in the United States’ Complaint filed simultaneously with this Consent Order.

1.     Settlement of the United States’ Investigation DJ 202-11-158

1.1     The United States and Defendant TestMasters stipulate to the terms set forth herein and to entry of this Order, which shall be binding upon TestMasters and the United States, and shall resolve all issues relating to the United States’ investigation, DJ 202-11-158.

1.2     This Order shall be a full, complete, and final disposition and settlement of all issues relating to the United States’ Complaint filed simultaneously with this Consent Order. The parties jointly request that the Court enter this Order.

2.     Definitions.

The parties agree and stipulate that certain terms shall be defined for purposes of this Consent Order:

2.1     “ADA” shall mean and refer to the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. §§12101 et seq.

2.2     “Appropriate auxiliary aids and services” in the context of TestMasters’ courses shall mean and refer to qualified sign language or oral interpreters, notetakers, computer-assisted real time transcription services, written materials, telephone handset amplifiers, assistive listening devices, assistive listening systems, telephones compatible with hearing aids, closed caption decoders, open and closed captioning, TTY’s, or other devices or services necessary to ensure effective communications.

2.3     “Consent Order” or the “Order” shall mean and refer to this Consent Order and Final Judgment, including all attached appendices.

2.4     “DOJ” or the “Department” shall mean and refer to the United States Department of Justice.

2.5     “Effective Date” of this Order shall mean and refer to the date that this Consent Order is entered as a final judgment by the United States District Court for the Central District of California.

2.6     "Qualified sign language interpreter," "oral interpreter," or "interpreter" shall mean and refer to an interpreter who is able to interpret competently, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any specialized terminology necessary for effective communication in a classroom setting to a student who is deaf or hard of hearing. Someone who has only a rudimentary familiarity with sign language or finger spelling is not a "qualified sign language interpreter" under this Order. Likewise, someone who is fluent in sign language but who does not possess the ability to process spoken communication into the proper signs or to observe someone else signing and change their signed or fingerspelled communication into spoken words is not a qualified sign language interpreter.

2.7     “TestMasters” shall mean and refer to Robin Singh Educational Services, Inc., TestMasters, its officers, agents and employees, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them, and all courses offered by TestMasters now or during the duration of this Order.

3.     Policies and Procedures Relating to the Provision of Effective Communication

TestMasters, and all preparatory courses offered by TestMasters, must comply with the ADA, 28 C.F.R. §§36.303 and 36.309, and with the following provisions:

3.1     Written Policy of Nondiscrimination- Within three (3) months of entry of this Order by the Court, all promotional materials, application and/or registration materials, company website(s), and other written materials, shall contain the policy of nondiscrimination language set forth in Exhibit A in a prominent location. Within three (3) months of entry of this Order by the Court, the company’s headquarters shall post a sign containing the same policy of nondiscrimination language set forth in Exhibit A in its lobby or other prominent location.

3.2     Establishment of ADA Coordinator- Within one (1) month of entry of this Order by the Court, TestMasters shall designate one person to be the company’s ADA Coordinator. The position of ADA Coordinator shall be responsible for insuring that qualified students are provided with all ADA-required accommodations, including the provision of qualified sign language interpreters when necessary to ensure effective communication. The name and telephone number of TestMasters’ ADA Coordinator shall be posted on the company’s website(s) and added to its application and/or registration materials in a prominent location

3.3    Employee Training - Within 90 days of entry of this Order by the Court, and annually thereafter for the duration of this Order, TestMasters shall conduct mandatory training for its officers, agents and employees, and all other persons in active concert or participation with any of them on the requirements of the ADA. The contents of the training shall be provided to the United States for its approval at least 30 days prior to each annual training session.

3.4     Procedures for Requesting Accommodations - Within 60 days of entry of this Order by the Court, TestMasters shall establish written procedures for students requesting accommodations. The written procedures shall be posted on TestMasters' website(s) and included with its written application materials. Students requesting accommodations shall do so in writing or online by filling out a form substantially the same as the form attached as Exhibit B hereto.

3.5     Review of Requests for Accommodations - TestMasters' ADA Coordinator shall review all requests for accommodations. Within two (2) business days of receipt of any written request, the ADA Coordinator will notify the requestor in writing of the type of accommodation, if any, to be provided. If TestMasters declines to provide any accommodation, or agrees to provide a different type of accommodation other than the accommodation requested, the ADA Coordinator will provide the requestor with a written explanation at that time. TestMasters shall report all requests for accommodations, supporting documentation, and TestMasters’ response to each request to the Department of Justice simultaneously with TestMasters’ response to the requestor, via facsimile or email and at the address provided in paragraph 4.5.

3.6    Recordkeeping Requirements - TestMasters shall maintain all requests for accommodations and all supporting documents related to requests for accommodations throughout the term of this Order.

4.     Notice, Reporting, and Monitoring Requirements

4.1     TestMasters shall provide the Department with an annual report of its disposition of requests for accommodations. Each report shall be provided on the anniversary of entry of this Order, and shall contain copies of all requests for accommodations and supporting documents filed during the previous twelve (12) months. Each report shall also provide detailed information on the previous year's training program, including the training content and the names of all attendees. The purpose of the report is to enable the Parties to monitor the number and type of accommodation requests received by TestMasters from individuals with disabilities, and the disposition of those requests.

4.2    TestMasters shall provide the DOJ with written documentation evidencing its completion of all corrective actions, as determined by this Order, in sufficient detail for the DOJ to confirm independently that all work has been done in conformance with the parties' agreement. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, color photographs and invoices for auxiliary aids and services.

4.3    Throughout the Term of this Order, the DOJ may, at any time, review compliance with this Order by sending representatives to any TestMasters' class or TestMasters' headquarters, by requesting copies of any documents related to compliance with this Order, or both. The United States may enforce this consent order if the United States believes that it or any requirement thereof has been violated. If the United States believes that this consent order or any portion of it has been violated, it will raise its concern(s) with TestMasters and the parties will attempt to resolve the concern(s) in good faith. The United States will give TestMasters twenty-one days from the date it notifies TestMasters of any breach of this consent order to cure that breach, prior to instituting any court action.

4.4    If the parties are unable to reach a resolution of any issues covered by this Order, the United States may seek appropriate relief from this Court. Failure by the United States to enforce any provision or deadline of this order shall not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other provisions or deadlines of this order. Any violation of this Order shall be considered a subsequent violation of the ADA.

4.5    All notices and reports required by this Consent Order shall be sent to the parties at the following addresses or to such other person as the parties may designate in writing in the future:

For notices to the Department:

John L. Wodatch, Chief
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section ‑ NYAV
Washington, D.C. 20530
Telephone: (202) 307-0663
Facsimile: (202) 307-1197

For notices to TestMasters:

Sharon Naim
Robin Singh Educational Services, Inc.,
d/b/a TestMasters
1620 26th Street, Suite 1000N
Santa Monica, California 90404
AND Thomas M. Norminton, Esquire
Norminton & Wiita
433 North Camden Drive
Suite 1111
Beverly Hills, California 90210

5.     Monetary and Other Relief

5.1     Re-enrollment of *************

Within thirty (30) days of entry of this Order, TestMasters shall re-enroll at no cost into a scheduled LSAT preparatory course of *******’s choosing and at a location of his choosing. ******* shall be provided with a qualified sign language interpreter, and whatever additional auxiliary aids and services may be required to ensure effective communication, throughout his LSAT preparatory course.

5.2     Payment of Damages to *************

Within sixty (60) days of entry of this Order, and in exchange for an executed copy of the Release attached as Exhibit C, TestMasters shall deliver to Mr. ******* a certified check in the amount of $20,000. Simultaneously, TestMasters shall send a copy of the check to the United States.

5.3     Payment of Civil Penalties to the United States

Within ninety (90) days of entry of this Order, TestMasters shall pay to the United States the sum of $10,000 in civil penalties by certified check payable to the United States Treasury and sent to counsel for the United States by overnight mail to the following address:

John L. Wodatch, Chief
U.S. Department of Justice
1425 New York Avenue, NW
Suite 4039
Washington, D.C. 20005

6.     Miscellaneous

6.1     Entire Agreement

This consent order constitutes the entire agreement between the parties relating to Department of Justice No. 202-11-158 and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made by any party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this written consent order, including its attachments, shall be enforceable.

6.2     Copies of Consent Order Available

A copy of this document, and any information contained herein, may be made available to any person or entity. The United States and TestMasters shall provide a copy of this Order to any person or entity upon request.

6.3     No Retaliation

TestMasters agrees that it will not discriminate or retaliate against any person because of his/her participation as a complainant in this matter.

6.4     Consent Order Binding on Parties and Successors in Interest

This Consent Order shall be binding on TestMasters, its agents and employees. In the event TestMasters seeks to transfer or assign all or part of its interest in any facility or course covered by this agreement, and the successor or assign intends on carrying on the same or similar use of the facility or course, as a condition of sale TestMasters shall obtain the written accession of the successor or assign to any obligations remaining under this agreement for the remaining term of this agreement.

6.5     Term of the Consent Order

This Consent Order shall remain in effect for three years from the effective date. The Court shall retain jurisdiction during that time to enforce this order. The United States may move the Court to extend the duration of the Order in the interests of justice.

6.6     Severability

If any term of this Consent Order is determined by any court to be unenforceable, the other terms of this Consent Order shall nonetheless remain in full force and effect.

6.7     Signatories Bind Parties

Signatories on behalf of the parties represent that they are authorized to bind the parties to this Order.

FOR DEFENDANT ROBIN SINGH EDUCATIONAL
SERVICES, INC., d/b/a TESTMASTERS: FOR THE UNITED STATES:



FOR DEFENDANT ROBIN SINGH EDUCATIONAL
SERVICES, INC., d/b/a TESTMASTERS: FOR THE UNITED STATES:


By: ___________________________
ROBIN SINGH, President

By: ___________________________
JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
L. IRENE BOWEN, Deputy Chief
PHILIP L. BREEN, Special Legal Counsel
PHYLLIS M. COHEN, Sr. Trial Attorney
phyllis.cohen@usdoj.gov
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section ‑ NYAV
Washington, D.C. 20530
Telephone: (202) 514-3882
Facsimile: (202) 307-1198


Dated: __5/22/06_____


Dated: ___5/30/06_____


Pursuant to stipulation, and for good case shown, IT IS SO ORDERED.

Dated: __June 21, 2006_____ By: _____________________________________

The Honorable __AUDREY COLLINS____
United States District Court for the Central District of California

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Exhibit A

Camp Policy on Diabetes Management

It is TestMasters' policy to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), including  providing appropriate auxiliary aids and services to students with disabilities to ensure effective communication.

Auxiliary aids and services may include qualified interpreters, notetakers, computer-aided transcription services, amplifiers, assistive listening devices, assistive listening systems, telephones compatible with hearing aids, closed caption decoders, open and closed captioning, telecommunications devices for deaf persons (TDD's), videotext displays, or other effective methods of making aurally delivered materials available to individuals with hearing impairments.  Auxiliary aids and services may also include qualified readers, taped texts, audio recordings, Brailled materials, large print materials, or other effective methods of making visually delivered materials available to individuals with visual impairments.

 





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Exhibit B

TESTMASTERS' REQUEST FOR ACCOMMODATION

It is TestMasters' policy to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), including  providing appropriate auxiliary aids and services to students with disabilities to ensure effective communication.

If you have a disability and would like to request an accommodation under the ADA, please complete this form and submit it to TestMasters' (fill in person's title, name, address, phone, email address).  All requests must be in writing and received at least 7 days prior to the start of class.  Within two business days of receipt of your request, TestMasters will notify you in writing of the type of accommodation, if any, to be provided to you.  If TestMasters declines to provide you with any accommodation, or agrees to provide you with a different type of accommodation other than the accommodation you requested, TestMasters will provide you with a written explanation, at the time of notification.

Your name/Registration Number: ____________________________________________________

                                                                                                            (Please print)

Date Course Begins: ________________________________

                                                      (Month/Day/Year)

 

Course Location: ___________________________________

                                                      (City, State)

Type/Nature of Disability: ________________________________________________________

 

Accommodation(s) Requested: _____________________________________________________

 

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Best Way to Contact You:                   phone ________________________ (day/evening)

                                                             Email ________________________

 

Signature: _________________________________________ Date: _______________________

 

IF YOU BELIEVE YOUR REQUEST FOR ACCOMMODATION WAS WRONGFULLY DENIED OR MODIFIED, PLEASE CONTACT THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, CIVIL RIGHTS DIVISION, ADA INFORMATION LINE BY TELEPHONE AT 1-800 - 514 - 0301 (VOICE) OR 1-800 - 514 - 0383 (TTY).




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Exhibit C


RELEASE

 

In consideration of the payment of twenty thousand dollars ($20,000.00) in accordance with the terms of the Consent Decree entered in United States v. Robin Singh Educational Services, Inc., d/b/a TestMasters, __ Civ. ____ (___) (C.D. Cal.), hereby releases Robin Singh Educational Services, Inc., d/b/a TestMasters, together with its subsidiaries, affiliates, parents, successors, officers, assigns, partners, shareholders, agents, employees, attorneys, or representatives from any and all liability for any and all claims for relief or causes of action of any nature that ******* may have against Robin Singh Educational Services, Inc., d/b/a TestMasters, arising from the facts and circumstances alleged in the complaint dated _______, 2006, filed by the United States in that action.                                   

 

Dated _________, 2006                                               

 

 

 

                                               

 

                                                                        BY:  _____________________________

                                               









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October 27, 2006