UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND
THE VIRGIN ISLANDS AND
VIRGIN ISLANDS BUREAU OF MOTOR VEHICLES
DJ No. 204-90-35
- This Settlement Agreement (“Agreement”)is entered into among the United States of America (“United States”), the Government of the Virgin Islands (“Virgin Islands”), and the Virgin Islands Bureau of Motor Vehicles (“BMV”). This Agreement reflects the Virgin Islands and BMV’s obligations to ensure that they do not exclude qualified individuals with a disability from participating in their programs, services, and activities on the basis of a disability.
- The parties agree that it is in their best interests, and the United States believes that it is in the public interest, to resolve this dispute without engaging in protracted litigation. The parties have therefore voluntarily entered into this Agreement, as follows:
- The United States Attorney for the District of the Virgin Islands (“U.S. Attorney’s Office”) is authorized, under 28 C.F.R. Part 35, Subpart F, to investigate complaints of violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of1990 (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, as amended, and the relevant regulations implementing Title II, 28 C.F.R. Part 35. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has the authority to issue findings, and, where appropriate, negotiate and secure voluntary compliance agreements. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is also authorized, under 42U.S.C. § 12133, to bring civil actions enforcing Title II of the ADA should it fail to secure voluntary compliance pursuant to Subpart F.
- The Government of the Virgin Islands is a “public entity” within the meaning of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1) and 28C.F.R. § 35.104, and is, therefore, subject to Title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C.§§ 12131-12134, and its implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.
- The Bureau of Motor Vehicles is an instrumentality of the Government of the Virgin Islands and is a “public entity” within the meaning of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12131(1) and 28 C.F.R. § 35.104, and is,therefore, subject to Title II of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. §§ 12131-12134, and its implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R. Part 35.
- This matter was initiated by a complaint filed under Title II of the ADA with the United States Department of Justice by [redacted]. The complaint alleges, inter alia, that [redacted] suffers from a migraine condition which causes her to experience extreme sensitivity to sunlight. On her doctor’s advice, she had her car windows darkly tinted. She registered her car with dark tinted windows without incident with the BMV from 2006 to2012. In January 2012, she was granted a disability permit by the BMV specifically for the dark tinted windows. In January 2013, the BMV refused to register her vehicle on the grounds that the window tint exceeded that allowed by Virgin Island statute, 20 V.I.C. § 800. [Redacted] presented to the BMV medical documentation supporting her request as well as her disability permit, but her request was nonetheless denied.
- Based on an investigation of [redacted] complaint, the U.S. Attorney’s Office determined that she is a qualified individual with a disability and that the BMV had unlawfully refused to make a reasonable modification of its policies, practices,or procedures, by not permitting her to register her vehicle, in violation of Title II of the ADA. See 42 U.S.C. § 12132; 28 C.F.R. § 35.130(a); and 28 C.F.R. §35.130(b)(7).
- [Redacted] also filed a complaint in Federal District Court making similar allegations that the Virgin Islands, BMV and Virgin Islands Police Department had discriminated against her and violated the ADA.
- Vehicle Registration. The BMV has agreed to make a reasonable modification of its prohibition on window tints (as stated in 20 V.I.C. § 800, and any other pertinent BMV regulations, rules, policies or procedures) and allow [redacted] to register her vehicle with windows tinted darker than allowed for by 20 V.I.C. § 800. Within seven (7) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the BMV agrees to inform the Virgin Islands Police Department, through its Commissioner, that [redacted] has been granted a vehicle registration and that she is authorized to operate a vehicle with windows tinted darker than allowed for by 20 V.I.C. § 800.
- Ticket Cancellation. The Virgin Islands agrees that, within seven (7) days of the effective date of this Agreement, it will cancel and void any and all tickets, citations, and/or vehicle liens for failure to have a vehicle registration or for having dark tinted windows received by [redacted] from January 1, 2013, to the effective date of this Agreement and remove them from her traffic/police record. Should [redacted] receive any tickets,citations or liens for having dark tinted windows after the effective date oft his Agreement, the Virgin Islands agrees that it will cancel and void them within seven (7) days of receiving notice of such ticket, citation, or lien and remove them from her traffic/police record.
- Nondiscrimination Agreement. The Virgin Islands and BMV agree not to engage in any act or practice that has the purpose or effect of unlawfully discriminating against any qualified person with a disability in violation of Title II of the ADA.
- Non retaliation Agreement. The Virgin Islands and BMV agree not to retaliate against [redacted] for the exercise of her rights under Title II of the ADA, including but not limited to the filing of her complaints with the Department of Justice and the District Court.
- Promulgation of Non-Discrimination Statement. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the BMV will adopt, maintain, and enforce the non-discrimination policy attached hereto and incorporated by reference herein as Attachment A to this Agreement. Within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the BMV will prominently display a copy of this non-discrimination statement in all locations in the Virgin Islands where BMV services are provided as well as on the home page of any current or future website. The BMV will provide a copy of this non-discrimination statement to any person upon request. The Virgin Islands will notify the United States in writing when it has completed the actions described in this paragraph.
- Training. Within one hundred and twenty days (120) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the BMV will train all of its personnel on Title II of the ADA. The BMV will provide the Title II training to new employees (including contractor employees) within thirty days (30) after the commencement of their services for the BMV. The BMV may use any reasonable means of training, for example via video or in-house training, and organize a schedule that will not disrupt its daily operations. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will have the right to review the training agenda and materials prior to training sessions being conducted by the BMV. The BMV will keep records of attendance at such training for one (1) year following the training session, and will provide a copy to the United States upon request.
- Trainer.Within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the BMV shall submit to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for approval, which shall not be unreasonably withheld, the trainer it seeks to use, including the individual's Curriculum Vitae. The trainer shall be knowledgeable about Title II of the ADA. In the alternative, if a video is used in place of a trainer, then the BMV shall provide the U.S. Attorney’s Office with the video information and agenda.
- Monetary Relief.Within ten (10) days of the effective date of this Agreement, the United States will provide the Virgin Islands Department of Justice with a release of claims(Attachment B) signed by [redacted]. By September 30, 2015, the Department of Justice will send to [redacted] a check for $7,500, payable to [redacted]. The Department of Justice will simultaneously send a copy of the check to the United States Attorney’s Office.
- Covenant Not to Sue. In consideration of the terms of this Agreement, the United States agrees to refrain from filing a civil suit against the Virgin Islands and BMV relating to the findings contained in the March 2,2015 Letter of Findings. Aside from this paragraph, nothing contained in this Agreement is intended or shall be construed as a waiver by the United States of any right to institute proceedings against the BMV, Virgin Islands, or any other entity for violations of any statutes, regulations, or rules administered by the United States or to prevent or limit the right of the United States to obtain relief under the ADA. However, if there is noncompliance with this Agreement, the United States may commence suit pursuant to paragraph 20 of this Agreement
- Notice of Settlement to the VIPD. The Virgin Islands agrees to inform the Commissioner of the Virgin Islands Police Department of this Settlement Agreement and provide the Commissioner with a copy of the Agreement within seven (7) days of its effective date.
- Ongoing Review of Compliance.The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time.
- Notification of Noncompliance.If the United States believes that the Virgin Islands or BMV is not incompliance with this Agreement, it will notify the Virgin Islands Attorney General’s Office in writing of the alleged noncompliance and attempt to seek a resolution of the matter. Such notice will contain reasonable particulars concerning the alleged violation. If the parties are unable to reach a resolution within thirty (30) days after the date of the written notification,the United States may bring a court action to enforce compliance with this Agreement
- Nonwaiver of Enforcement.Failure by the United States to enforce this entire Agreement or any provision thereof with respect to any deadline or any other provision herein will not be construed as a waiver of its right to enforce other deadlines and provisions oft his Agreement.
- Public Document.This Agreement is a public document and may be made available to any person.
- Modifications Prohibited.This Settlement Agreement cannot be modified or amended except by an instrument in writing, agreed to and signed by the parties.
- EntireAgreement.The Agreement, including Attachments A and B, constitute the entire agreement between the parties on the matters raised herein, and no other statement, promise, or agreement, either written or oral, made any party or agents of any party, that is not contained in this written Agreement, will be enforceable under its provisions.
- Parameters of Agreement. This Agreement is limited to the facts set forth in Paragraph 6 of this Agreement and the findings contained in the March 2, 2015, Letter of Findings, and does not purport to remedy or resolve any other existing or potential violations of the ADA or any other local or Federal law.
- EffectiveDate. The effective date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. This Agreement will remain in effect for one (1) year from the effective date of this Agreement
- Severability.The provisions of this Settlement Agreement shall be deemed severable, and any invalidity or unenforceability of any one or more of its provisions shall not affect the validity or enforceability of the other provisions herein.
- Notice.All notices, demands, or other communications to be provided pursuant to this Agreement will be in writing and delivered by e-mail to the following persons and addresses (or other persons and addresses as any party may designate in writing from time to time):
For the United States of America
Noah D. Sacks
U.S. Attorney’s Office
5500Veteran’s Drive, Suite 260
St. Thomas, VI 00802
For the Virgin Islands and BMV
Erika Scott, Esq..
6040Estate Castle Coakley
DATED: August 14, 2015
DATED: August 14, 2015
RONALD W. SHARPE
By: /s/ Noah Sacks
Noah D. Sacks
Assistant United States Attorney
U.S. Attorney’s Office
5500 Veteran’drive, Suite 260
St. Thomas, VI00802
Ph: (340) 774-5757
Attorney for the United States
CLAUDE EARL WALKER
ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL
By: /s/ Erika Scott
Erika Scott, Esq.
Assistant Attorney General
6040 Estate Castle Coakley
St. Croix, VI 00820
Ph: (340) 773-0295
Attorney for the Virgin Islands and Virgin Islands Bureau of Motor Vehicles
NOTICE OF NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY
UNDER THE AMERICANSWITH DISABILITIES ACT
In accordance with the requirements of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, (“ADA”), the Virgin Islands Bureau of Motor Vehicles (“BMV”) will not discriminate against qualified individuals with disabilities on the basis of disability in its services, programs, or activities.
Effective Communication: The BMV will generally provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services to qualified persons with disabilities where necessary to ensure effective communication sot hey can participate equally in BMV programs, services, and activities,including qualified sign language interpreters, documents in Braille, and other ways of making information and communications accessible to people who have speech, hearing, or vision impairments.
Modifications to Policies and Procedures: The BMV will make reasonable modifications to all policies and programs to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy all BMV programs, services, and activities. For example, individuals with service animals are welcomed in BMV offices, even where pets are generally prohibited.
Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication, or a modification of policies or procedures to participate in a BMV program, service, or activity, should contact the office of the Territorial ADA Coordinator at 340-772-1000 as soon as possible.
The ADA does not require the BMV to take any action that would fundamentally alter the nature of its programs or services,or impose an undue financial or administrative burden.
Complaints that a BMV program, service, or activity is not accessible to persons with disabilities should be directed to the Territorial ADA Coordinator at 340-772-1000.
The BMV will not place a surcharge on a particular individual with a disability or any group of individuals with disabilities to cover the cost of providing auxiliary aids/services or reasonable modifications of policy.