AMENDED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT

BETWEEN

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,

AND

BILLAL AND ALI, L.L.C., AND VISHNU KRUPA, INC.,

OWNERS AND OPERATORS OF TRAVELODGE, DALTON, GEORGIA

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE COMPLAINT NUMBER 202-19-113


 

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 against the owner and operator of the Travelodge Motel (“Motel”), located at 911 Market Street, Dalton, Georgia. The Complainant, a person who is legally blind, alleged that on or around December 26, 2004, the Motel refused service to him because he was accompanied by a service animal.
  2. The Attorney General of the United States (“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.
  3. The Motel is a place of lodging and, as such, is a place of public accommodation subject to the nondiscrimination requirements of title III of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(A); 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. Billal and Ali, L.L.C., owned and operated the Motel on or around December 26, 2004, and as such, was a public accommodation subject to the nondiscrimination requirements of title III of the ADA at the time the Complainant was refused service. 42 U.S.C. 12182; 28 C.F.R. § 36.104. Vishnu Krupa, Inc., currently owns and operates the Motel, and as such, is a public accommodation subject to the nondiscrimination requirements of title III of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. 12182; 28 C.F.R. § 36.104.
  4. Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities by public accommodations. 42 U.S.C. § 12182; 28 C.F.R. Part 36. The ADA specifically 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).
  5. An investigation by the United States substantiated the Complainant’s allegation that the Motel refused to serve him because he was accompanied by a service animal and determined that the Motel’s refusal to provide service to the Complainant violated the ADA.

PARTIES

  1. The parties to this Agreement are the United States of America (“United States”), Billal and Ali, L.L.C., and Vishnu Krupa, Inc., (collectively, the “Parties”). The Parties have determined and agreed that Department of Justice complaint 202-19-113 can be resolved without litigation pursuant to the terms of this Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”).
  2. Vishnu Krupa, Inc., the current owner of the Motel, has modified its policies, practices, and procedures, as set out in this Agreement, to ensure that individuals with disabilities who use service animals have an opportunity to enjoy and benefit from the Motel’s goods, services, facilities, and accommodations that is equal to that of others. 42 U.S.C. §§ 12182(a) - (b)(2)(A)(ii).
  3. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the United States 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. Consistent with the ADA, Vishnu Krupa, Inc.,will 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 Motel by excluding or providing unequal treatment to persons with disabilities who use service animals.
  2. Vishnu Krupa, Inc., will adopt, maintain, implement, and enforce the policy attached hereto as Attachment A to this Agreement (“Service Animal Policy”) on the treatment of customers using service animals. Within ten (10) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Vishnu Krupa, Inc., will provide a copy of the Service Animal Policy set forth in Attachment A to each of the employees of the Motel. Further, Vishnu Krupa, Inc., will post the Service Animal Policy in a conspicuous area of the Motel near the reception desk where employees and members of the public can see it.
  3. Within ten (10) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Vishnu Krupa, Inc., shall post the following notice in a conspicuous place in the Motel lobby where it can be readily seen by members of the public:

    “Persons with disabilities accompanied by service animals are welcome here at Travelodge - Dalton, Georgia.”

    The notice shall be printed using a plain, bold font that is 36 points or larger in size on a contrasting background. A copy of the required notice is attached hereto as Attachment B.

  4. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Vishnu Krupa, Inc., shall train all of its current employees regarding their obligations under the Service Animal Policy and under the ADA with respect to service animals so as to ensure that persons with disabilities accompanied by service animals have access to the Motel’s services in a manner equal to that of persons without disabilities. Furthermore, during the life of the Agreement, employees hired by Vishnu Krupa, Inc., to work at the Motel shall be trained and informed of the Motel’s service animal policy within 24 hours of first reporting to work.
  5. Vishnu Krupa, Inc., shall promptly investigate all complaints it receives alleging that any individual accompanied by a service animal was denied access or otherwise treated in a manner inconsistent with the Service Animal Policy while a guest of the Motel. Vishnu Krupa, Inc., shall maintain records of such complaints, the investigation conducted, and actions taken, if any, in response to any such complaints. Vishnu Krupa, Inc., shall make such records available for inspection by the United States.
  6. Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement and every six months thereafter, Vishnu Krupa, Inc., shall submit a written report to the United States outlining its compliance with paragraphs 9-13 above. Such reports shall include a summary of complaints received, the results of any investigations conducted, and actions taken pursuant to paragraph 13 during the reporting period.

MONETARY RELIEF FOR THE COMPLAINANT

  1. The ADA authorizes the Attorney General to seek a court award of compensatory damages on behalf of individuals aggrieved as the result of violations of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(2)(B); 28 C.F.R. § 36.504(a)(2). Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Billal and Ali, L.L.C., the owner of the Motel at the time the Complainant was refused service, will compensate the Complainant in this matter by sending him a certified check payable to the Complainant in the amount of five thousand dollars ($5,000.00), via certified mail to the address provided by the United States. Billal and Ali, L.L.C., will simultaneously send a copy of the check and the accompanying letter to counsel for the United States.
  2. In consideration for the compensatory damages set forth above, the United States agrees that within ten (10) days of its receipt of the Agreement signed by an authorized representative of Billal and Ali, L.L.C., it will obtain the Complainant’s signature on the “Waiver and Release of Claim” form attached hereto as Attachment C. The United States will mail the original copy of the signed Waiver and Release of Claims form to Billal and Ali, L.L.C., within fifteen (15) days of receipt of same by the United States.

CIVIL PENALTY

  1. The ADA also authorizes the Attorney General to seek a civil penalty as a result of violations of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(2)(C); 28 C.F.R. § 36.504(a)(3). Within ten (10) days of the effective date of this Agreement, Billal and Ali, L.L.C., will issue a check or money order in the amount of one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) payable to the United States Treasury as a civil penalty. Billal and Ali, L.L.C., will deliver the check or money order to counsel for the United States.

ENFORCEMENT

  1. The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the United States believes that this Agreement or any of its requirements have been violated, it may institute a civil action in Federal District Court to enforce this Agreement or the requirements of title III, following written notice to Vishnu Krupa, Inc., and Billal and Ali, L.L.C., of possible violations and a period of 30 days in which Vishnu Krupa, Inc., and Billal and Ali, L.L.C., have the opportunity to cure the alleged violations.
  2. Failure by the United States to enforce this entire Agreement or any of its provisions or deadlines shall not be construed as a waiver of the right of the United States to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement.

IMPLEMENTATION

  1. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below.
  2. This Agreement, including Attachments A, B, and C, 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 the continuing responsibility of Vishnu Krupa, Inc., and Billal and Ali, L.L.C., 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, and procedures, when the modifications are necessary to afford goods, services, and facilities to individuals with disabilities.
  5. A copy of this document or any information contained in it will be made available to any person by Vishnu Krupa, Inc., Billal and Ali, L.L.C., or the United States on request.
  6. This Agreement will remain in effect for three (3) years from the effective date of this Agreement.
  7. This Agreement shall be binding on Vishnu Krupa, Inc., Billal and Ali, L.L.C., their successors in interest, their agents, and their employees. Vishnu Krupa, Inc., and Billal and Ali, L.L.C., have a duty to notify any and all successors in interest of this Agreement and the duties and responsibilities it imposes on Vishnu Krupa, Inc., and Billal and Ali, L.L.C. In the event Vishnu Krupa, Inc., seeks to transfer or assign all or part of its interest in the Motel, and the successor or assignee intends on carrying on the same or similar use of the facility, as a condition of sale Vishnu Krupa, Inc., shall obtain the written accession of the successor or assign to any obligations remaining under this Agreement for the remaining term of this Agreement.
  8. The person signing this document for Vishnu Krupa, Inc., represents that he is authorized to bind Vishnu Krupa, Inc., to this Agreement, and the person signing this document for Billal and Ali, L.L.C., represents that he is authorized to bind Billal and Ali, L.L.C., to this Agreement.

FOR BILLAL AND ALI, L.L.C.: FOR THE UNITED STATES:
 
WAN J. KIM
Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights


BY:___________________________


BY:___________________________

KHALID JAVAID
Billal and Ali, L.L.C.
1 Saddlebrook Drive
Rome, Georgia 30161
(706) 376-0100
Dated: ______________________


FOR VISHNU KRUPA, INC.
Owner/Operator of the Travelodge
Motel of Dalton, Georgia


JOHN L. WODATCH, Chief
JEANINE WORDEN, Deputy Chief
ELIZABETH BACON, Supervisory Attorney
SUSAN H. CRAWFORD, Investigator
Disability Rights Section - NYA
950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20530-0005
(202) 307-1378

BY:                              
RAMESH SHETH
Vishnu Krupa, Inc.
911 Market Street
Dalton, Georgia 30720

Dated:       July 27, 2007        

Dated:                               






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