UNDER THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
AND BUDGET SAVER CORPORATION D/B/A/ BUDGET SAVER MOTEL
D.J. NO. 202-22-36
FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND INVESTIGATION
- This Settlement Agreement (Agreement) is made and entered into between the United States of America (United States), and Budget Saver Corporation d/b/a Budget Saver Motel (Owner) and Russell Dunning (Operator). This Agreement resolves an investigation of the Budget Saver Motel located at 1519 Sherman Avenue, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, 83814, conducted by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Idaho under Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12181-12189 and its implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 36. The United States initiated this investigation after receiving a complaint alleging that the Budget Saver Motel discriminated against people with disabilities and denied equal access to its motel for people with disabilities who use service animals. This Agreement pertains to the Budget Saver Motel's motel services and operations.
- The United States Attorney General is authorized to, and did, investigate this complaint pursuant to the authority granted by Title III of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(A) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.502. The Attorney General is authorized to enforce Title III of the ADA by seeking damages and full compliance with Title III's provisions. 28 C.F.R. § 36.504(a). The Attorney General may commence a civil action to enforce Title III in any situation where the Attorney General has reasonable cause to believe that a pattern or practice of discrimination exists or a matter of general public importance is raised. 42 U.S.C. § 12188(b)(1)(B).
- The Budget Saver Motel is a place of lodging owned by Budget Saver Corporation and operated by Russell Dunning, both private entities whose operations affect commerce. It is thus a place of public accommodation within the meaning of the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12181(7)(A) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.104 and subject to the requirements of title III of the ADA. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a) and 28 C.F.R. § 36.201.
- The Complainant alleges that the Budget Saver Motel failed to modify its policies to permit individuals using service animals to bring them into the motel without paying a pet deposit, or otherwise being subject to the hotel's pet policy. Specifically, the Complainant, who is a person with a disability who uses a service animal, states that on September 18, 2011, she checked into the Budget Saver Motel with her service animal. Complainant presented the service dog's registration card. The Complainant further claims that despite being expressly informed that this was a service animal, the Budget Saver Motel demanded medical verification of her need for a service animal and charged her $50.00 because she could have not or would not produce medical information. The Complainant alleges that the manager was belligerent. Complainant was so upset she threw up on the bed. She asked the motel for clean sheets and none were brought so she washed the soiled portion herself and dried it with a hair dryer. She left at 6 a.m. the day after the encounter with the manager because she and her family were upset and afraid of the manager. She then discovered the $50.00 charge.
- The United States investigated the Complaint and concluded that Budget Saver Motel violated the ADA by failing to modify its policies, practices, or procedures to allow the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability, without medical verification and without a surcharge. See 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(c). As a result of the United States' investigation, Russell Dunning refunded Complainant's $50 and wrote her a letter of apology.
- The parties have agreed to resolve this matter as set forth in this Agreement.
- The parties to this Agreement are the United States, Budget Saver Corporation (Owner) and Russell Dunning (Operator).
- Pursuant to the ADA, Owner and Operator agree that persons with disabilities who are accompanied by their service animals at the Budget Saver Motel shall be afforded the opportunity to participate in or benefit from the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations equal to that afforded to other individuals as required by the ADA, 42 U.S.C. § 12182(a). Owner and Operator further agree to modify the policies, practices and procedures at the Budget Saver Motel to permit the use of a service animal by individuals with disabilities without requiring verification of the person's need for the service animal or a surcharge. 42 U.S.C. § 12182(b)(2)(A)(ii); 28 C.F.R. § 36.302(c).
- Upon the Effective Date of this Agreement, Owner and Operator shall adopt the service animal policy attached as Exhibit A to this Agreement or through a specification that the pet policy does not apply to service animals. Within 90 days Operator shall provide training for its employees on its service animal policy. Within 120 days of the Effective Date of this Agreement. Owner and Operate shall submit a report to the United States Reporting on its compliance with this paragraph.
- Within 30 business days of the Effective Date, Operator shall compensate the Complainant in this matter by sending a check payable to the Complainant for five hundred dollars ($500) and sent to the attention of Amy S. Howe, United States Attorney's Office, 800 Park Blvd, Suite 600, Boise, ID 83712. The United States shall ensure that the release, attached to this Agreement, will be executed by the Complainant and forwarded to Operator upon receipt of that check and before forwarding the check to the Complainant.
- In consideration of the above actions, the United States agrees to close the investigation of this complaint and to refrain from bringing a civil action for violations of the ADA resulting from Complainant's stay specified herein, except as provided in paragraphs 13 and 14 of this Agreement.
ENFORCEMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF THE AGREEMENT
- The United States may review compliance with this Agreement at any time. If the United States believes that Owner or Operator are not in compliance with this Agreement or any requirement contained herein, the United States agrees to notify them in writing of the alleged non-compliance. Owner and Operator shall have 30 days to respond to the United States regarding the alleged non-compliance, and the Parties will attempt in good faith to resolve the matter informally. If the Parties are unable to reach a resolution, the United States may seek appropriate relief from the United States District Court. If the Court determines that Owner or Operator have violated the terms of this Agreement or the ADA, they shall be subject to all available remedies under the ADA.
- Any failure of the Department of Justice to enforce this Agreement with respect to any deadline or any other provision herein shall not be construed as a waiver of the United States right to enforce other deadlines and provisions of this Agreement, and invalidation of any particular provision or portion of a provision shall not affect the validity of this Agreement, which shall continue to have full force and effect.
- Owner, Operator, and/or the United States shall provide a copy of this Agreement to any person or entity upon request.
- The Effective Date of this Agreement is the date of the last signature below. The Agreement shall remain in effect until three years after the Effective Date.
- This Agreement shall be binding on Owner for as long as it owns the Budget Saver Motel and on Operator for as long as it operates the Budget Saver Motel. In the event that the Owner seeks to transfer or assign all or part of its interest in the Budget Saver Motel, and the successor or assign intends to carry on the same or similar use of the facility, as a condition of sale the Owner shall obtain the written agreement of the successor or assign to any obligations remaining under this Agreement for the remaining term of the Agreement.
- 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 regarding the matters raised herein. This Agreement does not affect the Owner or Operator's continuing responsibility to comply with all aspects of Title III of the ADA.
- The person(s) signing this Agreement on behalf of Owner and Operator represent that they are authorized to bind the Owner and Operator to this Agreement.
- This agreement shall terminate after three years from the Effective Date.
BUDGET SAVER CORPORATION d/b/a BUDGET SAVER MOTEL
Name: Russell Dunning
Budget Saver Motel, 1519 Sherman Avenue, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
Dated: ____1/16____, 2012
FOR THE UNITED STATES:
________/s/__________ Dated: ___1/27___, 2012.
Amy S. Howe
800 Park Blvd., Suite 600, Boise, ID 83712
Assistant U.S. Attorney
POLICY REGARDING SERVICE ANIMALS
FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES
The Budget Saver Corporation d/b/a Budget Saver Motel is committed to making reasonable modifications to its policies, practices, and procedures to permit the use of service animals by its customers with disabilities. Service animals play an important role in ensuring the independence of people with disabilities, and it is therefore our policy to welcome into our hotel any animal that is individually trained to assist a person with a disability.
What is a Service Animal?
Service animals are individually trained to work or perform tasks for individuals with disabilities. Service animals come in all breeds and sizes, may be trained either by an organization or by an individual with a disability, and need not be certified or licensed. Service animals do not always have a harness, a sign, or a symbol indicating that they are service animals. A service animal is not a pet. Service animals assist people with disabilities in many different ways, such as:
Guiding people who are blind or have low vision and retrieving dropped objects for them;
Alerting people who are deaf or hard of hearing to sounds and the presence of others;
Carrying and picking up items, opening doors, or flipping switches for people with disabilities who have limited use of hands or arms, limited use of their legs, or limited ability to bend or stoop;
Alerting people with disabilities to the onset of medical conditions such as seizures, protecting them and cushioning them if they fall and reviving them.
Doing work or performing tasks for persons with traumatic brain injury, intellectual disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities, such as reminding a person with depression to take medication or waking him up, helping people with traumatic brain injury to locate misplaced items, or follow daily routines.
Providing physical support and assisting people with physical disabilities with stability and balance.
Employee Requirements with Regard to Service Animals:
Most of the time, people with disabilities who use service animals may be easily identified without any need for questioning. If you can tell by looking, you should not make the guest feel unwelcome by asking questions. If you are unsure whether an animal meets the definition of a service animal, the hotel reservationist, and, where necessary, hotel management, may ask the guest the following questions at the point that the guest registers in the motel:
Is the animal required because of a disability?
What tasks or services has the animal been trained to perform?
You may not ask a customer questions about his or her disability. You may not ask a guest to show certification or a special ID card as proof of their animal's training. You may not ask a guest with a service animal to use a specific entrance or exit in the hotel.
Once a guest with a service animal has answered questions posed by hotel registration staff, no employee may ask the guest any further questions about his or her service animal. You must permit service animals to accompany guests with disabilities to all areas of the hotel normally used by guests.
Since a service animal is not a pet, guests with disabilities may not be asked to pay an extra deposit, fees, or other charges because they are accompanied by service animals. Deposits, fees, or other charges that are normally required for pets do not apply to service animals.
Pursuant to 28 C.F.R. 36.302(c)(2), in the event that a particular individual's use of a service animal poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, or the animal is not house broken, the Budget Saver Motel has the right to exclude the animal from its facility at that time, but may not refuse service to that individual with a disability when he or she is not accompanied by that particular service animal. Moreover, the Budget Saver Motel will not exclude a particular service animal based on past experience with other animals or based on fear that is not related to a service animal's actual behavior. Each situation will be considered individually.
Please handle any customer inquiries or complaints about this policy in accordance with our usual procedures by contacting . . .